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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 (original 2012; edition 2013)

by Jonathan Haidt (Author)

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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."
Member:Pumpkinson
Title:The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
Authors:Jonathan Haidt (Author)
Info:Vintage (2013), Edition: Reprint, 528 pages
Collections:To read
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The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt (2012)

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Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion attempted to find answers to this perplexing problem. Haidt therefore reasoned that intuition comes first followed by strategic reasoning. He challenged the notion of an emphasis on rationality as being delusional. This view he showcased by speaking metaphorically of a rider and elephant, where the rider is rational and the elephant intuitive. Later the writer wrote there was more to morality than harm and fairness. He presented a Morals Foundations Theory and the research of his colleagues supporting his arguments. He mentioned the studies of Richard Shweder to broaden a reader’s understanding of the moral domain, and that of Emile Durkheim by showing why many people especially social conservatives value binding conditions of loyalty, authority, and sanctity.
In the third part of the book Haidt introduced the principle that morality binds and blinds. He saw people as being multilevel in their selection that turns them in Homo duplex. He stated that people are selfish and groupish. They could spend most of their waking hours being selfish, but have the capacity to become part of the whole community. The book discussed why people are divided by religion and politics. Haidt wrote that it wasn’t because they were Manicheans that saw some people as good and others evil. Individuals are born with certain proclivities that could be shaped by environmental factors. The writer reasoned that people are intuitive creatures whose gut feelings drive their strategic reasoning that makes it impossible to connect with others unlike themselves.
The Righteous Mind appears to be based on some reasoning that’s controversial. Haidt’s topic itself is subject to nuances spelled out in the literature. Human behavior is difficult to ascertain with any degree of certainty. Still Haidt as a moral psychologist has attempted to bring some semblance of order to this study. Although he concluded that conservatives will be most successful in social debates, still Haidt saw himself as a liberal, who hopes to broaden liberals’ perspectives in setting the agenda. ( )
  erwinkennythomas | Jul 9, 2020 |
I read this book at the same time as [b:Thunder Out of China|935673|Thunder Out of China|Theodore H. White|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347508764s/935673.jpg|920657]. They both deal with politics and reading them at the same time I made a lot of connections that I might not have otherwise gotten.

I like books with things that make it easy for me. Things such as a Table of Contents, Index, and chapter summaries. Books that have notes and references are a bonus. This book goes one nice step further and has a summary chapter followed by a conclusion chapter. Thank you.

He outlines the history of moral philosophy, which was more complicated than I was in the mood to digest. He initially found the field rather dry, and so did I. A sabbatical to India gives him broader perspective and he begins to appreciate that there are different philosophies of morality. Still, the development of the book is rather slow, almost tedious. He contends that you, the reader, can't understand it unless he lays the groundwork first. But I think more of you than that, and so here it is.


He identifies six methods of Morality
- Care/Harm
- Liberty/oppression
- Fairness/cheating
- Loyalty/betrayal
- Authority/subversion
- Sanctity/degradation

According to his research:

The Liberals are really big on the first one, less so on the second, and even less on the third.

The Libertarians are really big on Liberty/oppression, and a little bit on Fairness/cheating

He surprised me by representing the Conservatives as valuing all about equally. This was a surprise since half way into the book it came out that in 2001 the author was very much in the Liberal camp. How much and even whether he has changed his philosophy since then is not clear.

He asserts that different cultures can survive with different mixes of the moral methods; that it is not necessary to have them all in every culture.

The book also gives some reason(s) why politics has became so divisive.

Part 1 summary: Intuition comes first, reasoning second.

Part 2 summary: There's more to morality than harm and fairness. (From the India trip)

Part 3 summary: Morality binds and blinds.



There is a web site where he has surveys to determine the preferences of people of various political persuasions. http://www.yourmorals.org/ It has a tab "Explore Your Morals", which might be interesting. ( )
  bread2u | Jul 1, 2020 |
I found the analogy of the elephant and rider helpful, but the rest of the book was a celebration of the moral superiority of conservatism. While conservatives certainly have valid points to make, I do not regard liberals as moral inferiors. They simply emphasize different values from the conservatives.

He also fails to make the case that conservatives emphasize all six moral dimensions, since care/concern seems to be barely a blip on their radar even in the book's narrative. Nor am I convinced that liberals have less loyalty to the "tribe," since the conservative and liberal definitions of who that tribe is may well be different, e.g. the more nationalistic or ethnic definition preferred by conservatives versus the more pluralistic or universalistic vision of liberals. ( )
  DonnaRowe | Jun 30, 2020 |
The points are all very well made. The Social Intuitionist Model is convincing and useful in understanding how ineffectual reason can be in a moral argument, but it would have been interesting to see how this model might complement Haidt's endorsement of utilitarianism. How might Durkheim and Mill have worked out a moral theory that addresses these irrational and group-centered moral intuitions? In spite of the the engaging subject matter, the book suffers somewhat from Haidt's clunky prose and trite metaphors. His repetition of key themes and analogies was heavy-handed and became more tedious as the book wound its way to its conclusion. Regardless, the content of the book is certainly worth pondering. ( )
  drbrand | Jun 8, 2020 |
Really thought provoking. Made me understand a little better how people think on the opposite sides of the spectrum, and how compelling moral arguments get made. (It's not just facts.) ( )
  DerekCaelin | May 5, 2020 |
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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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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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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.

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