Islands in the Stream of Consciousness

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(1), 16–17. Reviews the book, Meaning and Void: Inner Experience and the Incentives in People's Lives by Eric Klinger (see record 1978-27510-000). The phrase “meaning and void” provides an accurate summary of the essential issues with which the author of this book is concerned. To deal with the troublesome question of what makes people's lives meaningful, Klinger proposes the straight-forward, empirical solution of simply asking them. He asserts that all of the things people typically list as giving meaning to their lives can be characterized as incentives. The complete elaboration of Klinger's incentive theory is consistently insightful, impressive in the range of issues and data it addresses, and far reaching in its implications. Although space unfortunately precludes even a general overview of the various issues the formulation addresses, it should be noted that the author's discussion of the process of “disengaging” from incentives contains some of his most creative and provocative theorizing. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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