Jonathan Haidt The Righteous Mind


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Late 20th Century And Modernity

‘The Righteous Mind’: Why Liberals and Conservatives Can’t Get Along

In the 1960s, there was growing interest in topics such as , , and . In the 1970s, a number of conceptual challenges to social psychology emerged over issues such as ethical concerns about laboratory experimentation, whether attitudes could accurately predict behavior, and to what extent science could be done in a cultural context. It was also in this period where âthe theory that human behavior changes based on situational factorsâemerged and challenged the relevance of and in psychology.

By the 1980s and 1990s, social psychology had developed a number of solutions to these issues with regard to and . At present, regulate research, and and multicultural perspectives to the social sciences have emerged. Most modern researchers in the 21st century are interested in phenomena such as , , and . Social psychologists are, in addition, concerned with , contributing towards applications of social psychology in health, education, law, and .

Whos Guiding Who: Intuition And Reasoning

He shows us that morality is neither the result of rational reflection nor merely of innate, inherited assumptions. Haidt gives us the first rule of moral psychology: Intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second . Human morality is largely the result of internal predispositions, which Haidt calls intuitions. These intuitions predict which way we lean on various issues, questions, or decisions. The rational mindwhich the Greek philosophers so valorized and even idolizedhas far less control over our moral frameworks than we might think. Intuition is much more basic and determinative than reasoning.

The Rider And The Elephant

Emotions are harder to define because they occur in steps. Emotions are not dumb emotions are a kind of information processing. Contrasting emotion with cognition is therefore as pointless as contrasting rain with weather or cars with vehicles.

In the Happiness Hypothesis, Haidt recognises two types of cognition:

Haidt chooses an elephant rather than a horse because elephants are so much bigger and smarter than horses. Automatic processes run the human mind, just as they have been running animal minds for 500 million years. Like software that has been improved through thousands of product cycles, theyre very good at what they do. When human beings evolved the capacity for language and reasoning in the last million years, the brain didnt rewire itself to hand over the reins to a new and inexperienced charioteer. Rather, the rider evolved because it did something useful for the elephant.

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American Vs European Concerns

Haidts book is in many ways an American book, focused on American concerns. Europeans arent generally exercised quite so much by patriotism or religiosity as their transatlantic cousins. It is not wildly implausible to suggest, against Haidts thesis, that there might even be some connection between the groupishness that he values and the social disharmony that many see in his society. Comparatively, Europeans, even the British, arent anywhere near as unequal as people in the United States, and, as Richard Wilkinson and Kate Picket point out in The Spirit Level , there is a remarkable correlation between social inequality and violence, offering an alternative explanation for social conflict to Haidts. Overall in Europe, the tide of progressive liberalism has risen high, and has done so in all its secular, universalist, glory. Many of us are glad of this, and fear a return of the kind of identity-based politics that, twice last century, drenched our continent in blood.

Interestingly, what fascinates many non-Americans most about the United States is not its groupishness, but its origin in a quintessential Enlightenment moment. In the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787 a group of enlightened men sat together in a room and used their powers of reason to invent a nation. The philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre has called into question the coherence of a nation based on the notion of the universality of rights and the reign of reason, in a way that Haidt would understand.

The Main Five Foundations

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and ...

According to Moral Foundations Theory, differences in people’s moral concerns can be described in terms of five moral foundations:Individualizing cluster of Care and Fairness, and the group-focused Binding cluster of Loyalty, Authority and Sanctity. The empirical evidence favoring this grouping comes from patterns of associations between the moral foundations observed with the Moral Foundations Questionnaire.

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Theres More To Morality Than Harm And Fairness

In this part, a new central metaphor is introduced: The righteous mind is like a tongue with six taste receptors.. This part of the book is very enlightening in allowing us to understand the moral beliefs of others. Where at first glance we may see their behaviour or beliefs as immoral, if we understand that their sense of morality is different, we can see that they are acting in line with their personal view of morality.

Chapter : The Origin Of Morality

The first chapter explains how views of morality are different in different cultures. People who are highly educated and liberal , tend to have different views from those in more traditional cultures. Haidt claims that this distorted the field of Moral Psychology for a long time, because academics were biased towards the kind of moral stance that they typically hold. Academics therefore came to the conclusion that morality is rationalist, meaning that children self-construct a sense of morality through reasoning, as they learn how to avoid causing harm through their actions.

Haidt makes the case against the rationalist theory by demonstrating that the moral reasoning people use to explain what is right and wrong is often invalid, and that they more often rely on kind of gut feeling. These intuitions comes partly from an innate sense of morality and are partly learned from the culture we grow up in.

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Philip Badger Finds The Righteous Mind Difficult To Believe Unqualifiedly

Jonathan Haidt, although technically a psychologist, has sufficient expertise to write well on topics with relevance to philosophy. His topic in this book is morality and its impact on politics, and he addresses it, primarily at least, from the perspective of evolutionary psychology that is, by considering how our moral instincts might have evolved. His approach, therefore, is necessarily naturalistic or external meaning that he is concerned with explaining rather than justifying moral belief. This causes him some difficulties: he has a paradoxical sympathy for moral conservatives, whose understanding of their own position tends to be anything but external . However, he is admirably non-reductive in his efforts. In Haidts hands, evolutionary psychology loses the tunnel-vision it acquires from some of its proponents, and opens itself to insights from both sociology and philosophy.

Morality Has Multiple Dimensions

The Righteous Mind | Jonathan Haidt | Talks at Google

The second part of The Righteous Mind describes the foundational values on which Haidt argues all of us build our moralities. According to Haidt, those core values are: care, fairness, loyalty, authority, sanctity, and liberty.

Liberals generally do place some value on loyalty, authority, and sanctity, but not much. Meanwhile, these three are often ride-or-die moral foundations for conservatives.

The moral foundation of care is rooted in our parental instinct to look after children, as well as our aversion to harm done to ourselves. We dont like pain, and so anything that causes pain either to us or to others typically triggers our care responses. According to data that Haidt and his colleagues gathered over a ten-year period, while both American liberals and conservatives tend to value care, it is typically a higher priority for the left.

Fairness is a value that Haidt initially thought was also largely associated with liberals. But this one is a bit more complicated. While fairness in the sense of equality resonated with many liberals that Haidt studied, he found that conservatives also valued fairness highly, although more in the sense of proportionality, as in do your fair share.

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Chapter : The Conservative Advantage

Haidt claims that conservatives understand the social intuitionist model better and they also touch each moral receptor from the moral foundations theory. This helps to explain why the Republican Party performs well in poorer rural areas, which, rationally, would benefit from the redistribution policies of the Democratic Party.

Haidt also explains an alteration to moral foundations theory, the adding of an additional liberty/oppression foundation.He also clarified the fairness/cheating foundation based on the feedback from both conservatives and liberals who claimed they believe in fairness whilst the other side does not. Both believe in fairness, but the focus of fairness differs: liberals tend to believe in equality whereas conservatives tend to believe in proportionality . The fairness foundation was redefined to focus purely on proportionality, because the liberal concept of fairness as equality was captured by the care and liberty foundations.

The Righteous Mind By Jonathan Haidt Recommended By Edgar Kiser

Submitted by Anonymous on September 23, 2017 – 5:34pm

Why has politics in America and Europe become so polarized and partisan in the last few decades? Journalists, political scientists, and sociologists have all attempted to answer this question, but one of the most interesting attempts Ive seen comes from a cognitive psychologist. The first 75% or so of s The Righteous Mind provides a novel and compelling analysis of the evolutionary and cognitive microfoundations necessary to understand this phenomenon, and the book is worth reading for that reason alone, but Ill also warn you that when he strays from his disciplinary turf and attempts a bit of Durkheimian macrosociology in the last 25% of the book hes on much shakier ground.

This part of the argument implies that we will never be adequately self-critical of our moral values — the part of our brain that constructs them is not amenable to introspection or analysis and the conscious part of our brain is designed to defend them . The only way to break through the strong innate defenses of our moral values is discussions with other people with different moral intuitions this provides a strong argument against homophily in friendship networks and in favor of diversity in workplaces.

Edgar Kiser teaches courses on social theory and social thought, and directs study abroad programs in various European cities. A failed poet, he is a denizen of jazz clubs.

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The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics And Religion By Jonathan Haidt Review

As you are reading this newspaper and not another, there is a good chance you may have wondered why some people you know, whose moral compasses seem otherwise to be functioning well, nevertheless vote for the Conservatives or their equivalent whenever offered the chance. This is the question Jonathan Haidt has set out to answer and his conclusions may make unsettling reading for those of a liberal persuasion.

Professor Haidt‘s premise is, as far as I can see, fairly easy to summarise: the reason republicans and conservatives persist in winning elections is because they appeal to a greater range of moral impulses than do more leftwing parties. Haidt claims that just as we have the taste receptors of salt, sweet, bitter, and so on, so we generally work on five basic moral receptors: those pertaining to caring, fairness, loyalty, authority and sanctity.

Liberals are very big on caring and fairness, but tend not to mind so much about “sanctity”. Conservatives, however, care about all these things. The more rightwing they are, the less bothered they are about fairness, and the more bothered they are about “sanctity”. So for liberals to appeal more to everyone, and to win more elections, what they should do is press the buttons pertaining to good order and individual responsibility towards the herd harder than they do.

Liberals And Conservatives Need Each Other

A Visual Book Review of The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt

Haidt argues that American liberals and conservatives form a sort of yin and yang, and as in that famous Chinese symbol, a holistic worldview contains both elements. While much of The Righteous Mind is dedicated to explaining how we form and solidify our differing political groups based on instinctive values, Haidt also wants to offer tools to help us communicate and connect across those differences. Even though conservatives, liberals, and libertarians engage the six foundational values differently, somewhere deep down there is a shared codingand if there is shared coding, theres the possibility to come together.

At the level of policy, Haidt suggests that goals can be set out in ways that express both liberal and conservative priorities. For example, the effort to reign in multinational corporations could highlight both the goal of lifting up the worlds poor , and creating opportunity for small and medium-sized American businesses . Conversations about immigration policy should acknowledge the value of treating migrants decently along with the importance of the rule of law and enforceable borders . By acknowledging the values of each side, we have a better chance of communicating with one another and creating policies that are broadly acceptable to all.

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Analysis Of Buddhism Plain And Simple By Steve Hagen

Analysis of Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve HagenThe book Buddhism Plain and Simple, by Steve Hagen, caught my attention and became more interesting to me than I thought. I have always heard of the religion Buddhism, but I never knew what it was all about. I never thought that Buddhism was as huge as it is. I knew that it existed in other countries, but I never knew what exact countries. Many of the views in this book surprised me and the book taught me a lot about morals and better ways to live your life.

Chapter 1: Religion Is A Team Sport

Haidt discusses religion and explains how New Atheist criticisms of religion fail to recognise a core aspect of religion. By focusing on the scientific truth of beliefs and how invalid beliefs can inspire actions that may be harmful , the New Atheist approach misses the importance of belonging in religions. Haidt argues that a sense of belonging to a group is at the core of religion, and it allows a community to be established with a shared sense of morality that can be advantageous to all: eg. ultra-Orthodox Jews have dominated the diamond industry because their religious community ensured high levels of trust which keeps transaction costs low.

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Chapter : Taste Buds Of The Righteous Mind

This core chapter of the book introduces moral foundation theory, the idea that morality is like taste, in that we have a number of receptors for which different people can have different preferences. Haidt suggests five candidates: care/harm, fairness/cheating, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/degradation. For example for the authority/subversion foundation, some people believe it is important to establish a hierarchical system where we follow our superiors, whilst others try to flatten organisational structures and have a disregard for authority.

How Emotions Impact Reasoning

Jonathan Haidt: “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion”

38% of the 1,620 times that people heard a harmless offensive story, they claimed that somebody was harmed. In the dog story, for example, many people said the family itself would be harmed because they would get sick from dog meat. Were people really condemning the actions because they foresaw these harms? Or was it a reverse process? Were people inventing these harms because they had already condemned the actions?

These people were working quite hard at reasoning, but it was not reasoning in search of truth. It was reasoning in support of their emotional reactions. Moral reasoning is often a servant of moral emotions. It is a post hoc fabrication. Reasons arent the first thing that comes to mind, but we go searching for reasons once we experience emotions. The reasons become our way to make the emotions make sense. People made moral judgements quickly and emotionally. Moral reasoning was mostly just a post hoc search for reasons to justify the judgements that were already made.

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Analysis Of God Behaving Badly By David Lamb

In the first chapter of God Behaving Badly, David Lamb argues that God is unfairly given a bad reputation. He claims these negative perceptions are fueled by pop culture and lead many to believe the lie that the God of the Old Testament is angry, sexist, racist, violent, legalistic, rigid, and distant. These negative perceptions, in turn, affect our faith. Ultimately, Lamb seeks to demonstrate that historical context disproves the presumptuous aforementioned. In addition, he defends his position by citing patterns of descriptions that characterize God throughout the Old Testament. Our image of God will directly affect how we either pursue or avoid God. If we believe that the God of the Old Testament is really harsh, unfair and cruel, we wont want anything to do with him . Clearly, they way Christians choose to see God will shape their relationship with Him.

Chapter : Beyond Weird Morality

Here Haidt introduces the concept of WEIRD people having a different sense of morality than more traditional cultures. WEIRD morality is more individualistic viewing the world as separate objects, whereas traditional cultures tend to be more sociocentric, focused on relationships and groups. The WEIRD morality tends to focus mostly on the values of harm and fairness, and tends to be associated with liberal political beliefs.

Haidt explains that he saw this difference first-hand when he did research in India. As a young man with liberal beliefs, he found it easier to understand American conservatives after returning from his time living in India. By then he could understand, both theoretically and through personal experience, that people can have different moral matrixes. He could finally see that conservatives were not immoral, they just had a different sense of morality to liberals. He claims that WEIRD morality is narrow, whereas other moralities tend to be broader, having additional concerns such as divinity.

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