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The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (2012)

by Jonathan Haidt

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3,166754,178 (4.08)91
A groundbreaking investigation into the origins of morality, which turns out to be the basis for religion and politics. The book explains the American culture wars and refutes the "New Atheists."
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Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
The author takes you on a journey through moral philosophy and evolutionary psychology to make sense of what we see as values today. He makes a lot of sense for the most part, and opens an exciting path to rarionalising contemporary socio-political processes and the values they rely on.

The book is near perfect except the end in which he does not spend as much detailed work on motivating his ideas and counterarguments. But nevertheless I found many moments totally enlightening in their candid views, I think this is a must read book. ( )
  yates9 | Feb 28, 2024 |
I made it to page 200 before my revulsion at the emerging narrative became so intense I couldn't finish. Bogus experimental technique, errors of fact (John Stuart Mill did not justify slavery), treating institutional racism, misogyny and patriarchy as valid "moral" positions just got to be too much. Think Social Darwinism mixed with moral relativism. The "Dark Enlightenment" folks would love this - a virtual blueprint for justifying fascism. Two stars only for the writing which was decent enough and recommended from a know your enemy perspective. ( )
  dhaxton | Nov 21, 2023 |
I wasn't particularly looking forward to reading this for book club, but it actually turned out to be fascinating. The author's experiments and explanations about how people develop their morality systems and why we can view the world in such different ways made a lot of sense. I especially liked his suggestions for how to communicate more effectively with people who think differently than you do. ( )
  tjsjohanna | Sep 25, 2023 |
This was pretty entertaining and interesting. It is about morale psychology and trying to determine why we believe what we believe. There are some very entertaining study results (some of them pretty humorous) that the author uses as evidence in a debate between emotion/intuition vs reasoning. Later, there is a discussion about Moral Foundations - the basic moral principles we all rate and how they map to our political leanings. There is also a discussion of how our ancestors' anthropology/evolution may be influencing our morality today which also had some interesting points.

It's not overly technical and he has some good metaphors for explaining his theories. ( )
  lieblbiz | Aug 30, 2023 |
bcc
  fjp32 | Aug 24, 2023 |
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Epigraph
I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, not to hate them, but to understand them.

- Baruch Spinoza, Tractatus Politicus, 1676
Dedication
In memory of my father, Harold Haidt
First words
"Can we all get along?" That appeal was made famous on May 1, 1992, by Rodney King, a black man who had been beaten nearly to death by four Los Angeles police officers a year earlier.
Quotations
The mind is divided, like a rider on an elephant, and the rider's job is to serve the elephant.
The righteous mind is like a tongue with six taste receptors.
We Are 90 Percent Chimp and 10 Percent Bee.
I could not understand how any thinking person would voluntarily embrace the party of evil, and so I and my fellow liberals looked for psychological explanations for conservatism, but not for liberalism.
In psychology, theories are cheap.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A groundbreaking investigation into the origins of morality, which turns out to be the basis for religion and politics. The book explains the American culture wars and refutes the "New Atheists."

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Book description
Why can’t our political leaders work together as threats loom and problems mount? Why do people so readily assume the worst about the motives of their fellow citizens?

In The Righteous Mind, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores the origins of our divisions and points the way forward to mutual understanding. His starting point is moral intuition - the nearly instantaneous perceptions we all have about other people and the things they do. These intuitions feel like self-evident truths, making us righteously certain that those who see things differently are wrong.

Haidt shows us how these intuitions differ across cultures, including the cultures of the political left and right. He blends his own research findings with those of anthropologists, historians, and other psychologists to draw a map of the moral domain, and he explains why conservatives can navigate that map more skillfully than can liberals. He then examines the origins of morality, overturning the view that evolution made us fundamentally selfish creatures.

But rather than arguing that we are innately altruistic, he makes a more subtle claim - that we are fundamentally groupish. It is our groupishness, he explains, that leads to our greatest joys, our religious divisions, and our political affiliations. In a stunning final chapter on ideology and civility, Haidt shows what each side is right about, and why we need the insights of liberals, conservatives, and libertarians to flourish as a nation.

Download the accompanying reference guide.
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