"Black makes the thoroughly convincing argument that, if the foundation of values cannot be located in a realm beyond the physical, it has to be found within the world of the physical- within the material world itself. This necessitates a redefinition of the physical world that allows there to be a place for 'subjects'... [this book] is a timely publication. It carries an optimistic message for it shows that, when Man finally turns his scientific eye on the human subject, he finds embedded in this human core the living template from which religion, science and the values of love and care took origin." - Kenneth Wright, British Journal of Psychotherapy, 2012, Vol.28, No.2
In this book, David M. Black asks questions such as 'why do we care?' and 'what gives our values power?' using ideas from psychoanalysis and its adjacent sciences such as neuroscience and evolutionary biology in order to do so.
Why Things Matter explores how the comparatively new scientific discipline of consciousness studies requires us to recognize that subjectivity is as irreducible a feature of the world as matter and energy. Necessarily inter-disciplinary, this book draws on science, philosophy and the history of religion to argue that there can be influential values which are not based exclusively on biological need or capricious life-style choices. It suggests that many recent scientific critics of religion, including Freud, have failed to see clearly the issues at stake.
This book will be key reading for psychoanalysts and psychotherapists as well as counsellors with an interest in the basis of religious feeling and in moral and aesthetic values. The book will also be of interest to scholars of psychoanalysis, philosophy and religion.