The Human Image in Postmodern America

A thought-provoking critique of the basic premises underlying the explanations of human behaviour frequently offered by psychologists. Despite its avowed shift away from behaviouristic ways of thinking, psychology today, according to Rychlak, is essentially mechanistic. But while biological and automatic processes clearly have vital uses, they are unable to fully account for such phenomena as free will and agency - the very qualities that make us human. Rychlak has written a short, accessible book, analysing an impressive range of social and cultural issues such as personal responsibility, individualism and collectivism, autonomy, anti-authoritarianism, postmodernism, racism and political correctness. In each case he demonstrates the teleological or non-mechanical nature of our behaviour in real-life situations. While this is not a how-to book in the usual sense of the word, its author does suggest that only when we come to understand what it really means to be human can we resolve the most pressing issues of our times.