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

by Jonathan Haidt

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Really good read- it's tough to write a book that makes sophisticated social psychology points using language accessible to the average, less educated reader, but Haidt does it pretty well.

Very convincingly takes us through the argument in three parts:
1. We may think that our moral decisions are made through careful reasoning, but actually we are totally ruled by our instincts, and the higher reasoning is little more than post-hoc rationalization. the metaphor is that there is a rider and an elephant- the elephant (instinct) controls the rider (reasoning), who is just there to follow where the elephant wants to go.
2. Morality is broken down, and seen as a concept with 6 moral foundations, some of which appeal more to liberals and some to conservatives. Most notably, conservatives tend to emphasize all of the domains, while liberals tend to focus on just 2- Liberty and Care, with much less emphasis on Loyalty, Authority, and Sanctity than conservatives have. (the 6th domain is fairness, which liberals use a little).
3. "Morality Binds and Blinds". He uses the metaphor that we are "90% chimp and 10% bee", that humans are individuals, but that we have a "hive switch" that causes us to join together in certain conditions. Tribalism is an essential part of being human.

He ends with a paean to comity, urging people to get to know those in other political "tribes" and understand each other. It would be nice, and we have a long way to go. ( )
  DanTarlin | Aug 2, 2018 |
I was keeping notes as I read this book and started writing more than I was reading. Usually my notes are positive or neutral but with this book I was writing a parallel screed against the text. To a large extent, this is because I loathe philosophy and the text was philosophy rich, points and conclusions are pulled out of the air or based on anecdote, moral relativism is taken to dangerous lengths, and/or false comparisons. The title gave me great hope for a dispassionate understanding of certain dynamics, but it did not deliver. One can derive a better understanding from any number of sources: biology and psychology texts that show physiological dynamics that can play a role in determining ideology; religious, athiest, and agnostic positions that encourage tolerance, understanding, or neutrality; and studies that consider more roundly history, demographics, and contextual influences. The best things I have learned from this books is to completely ascertain whether a book can be categorized as philosophy so I can avoid it and to not judge a book by its title. ( )
  rosechimera | Mar 16, 2018 |
I was keeping notes as I read this book and started writing more than I was reading. Usually my notes are positive or neutral but with this book I was writing a parallel screed against the text. To a large extent, this is because I loathe philosophy and the text was philosophy rich, points and conclusions are pulled out of the air or based on anecdote, moral relativism is taken to dangerous lengths, and/or false comparisons. The title gave me great hope for a dispassionate understanding of certain dynamics, but it did not deliver. One can derive a better understanding from any number of sources: biology and psychology texts that show physiological dynamics that can play a role in determining ideology; religious, athiest, and agnostic positions that encourage tolerance, understanding, or neutrality; and studies that consider more roundly history, demographics, and contextual influences. The best things I have learned from this books is to completely ascertain whether a book can be categorized as philosophy so I can avoid it and to not judge a book by its title. ( )
  rosechimera | Mar 16, 2018 |
Philosophy and religion > Psychology and religion > Religion > Religion > Religions and secular disciplines > Religious mythology, general classes of religion, interreligious relations and attitudes, social theology
  FHQuakers | Feb 12, 2018 |
This is an important book, especially for those who consider themselves liberal or progressive. It is essential to learn to understand why people take the positions that they do on political and moral issues. Haidt demonstrates that, while liberals base most judgments on the values of care/harm and liberty/oppression, with some based on fairness/cheating, there are three other moral stands that matter to conservatives: loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion and sanctity/degradation. Without understanding these other motivations, which Haidt links to our evolution as successful members of groups, we can only see those who disagree as wrong , or even mentally ill. ( )
1 vote ritaer | Jan 31, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
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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.
Libertarians are basically liberals who love markets and lack bleeding hearts.
When libertarians talk about the miracle of "spontaneous order" that emerges when people are allowed to make their own choices, the rest of us should listen.
Emphasizing differences makes many people more racist, not less.
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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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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307377903, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:34 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

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."

» see all 4 descriptions

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