The Righteous Mind Jonathan Haidt


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A Left Wing Academics Journey To The Centre Ground

The Righteous Mind | Jonathan Haidt | Talks at Google

Whilst there are a few good ideas here it is mostly evidence light assertions like an extended TED talk. His defence of religion bypasses the atheists main point that it is a highly unlikely hypothesis for the creation of the universe. He swings by group selection without looking into the genetics of it, has the requisite politically correct view of cultural relativism.. the native peoples I met were quite happy with their values so who an I too judge… failing to see that in almost every oppression in the past there have been oppressed people who defended the status quo.there are also the ridiculous assertions… apparently suicide bombing has been conclusively proven to have nothing to do with religion by an academic – well clearly that settles it then! criminality in the 60s, 70s and 80s and it’s decline in the 90s was caused by leaded petrol – nothing to do with abortion rates, decreased use of cash, decreased cost of consumer goods etcUltimately it’s just the story of a left wing academic realising that conservatives are not baby eating monsters but people with a less utopian view of humanity. The depressing thing is that this is news in the 21st century West.

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Very Relevant At The Moment

A brilliant book that takes you on a journey through moral psychology and the formation of the human mind. It touches on very relevant points about understanding eachother and how no matter what our values are, we Are all connected and all act in the same way – though many will refuse to believe this. I would highly recommend to anyone who is struggling to understand why everyone is so angry at the moment and why it seems like understand the other point of view appears to be a dying and forbidden trait.

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The Righteous Mind By Jonathan Haidt

Piss ChristPiss ChristDavid Runciman

Here’s a thought experiment. Are you deeply offended by works of art such as Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ, which depicts Jesus as seen through a jar of urine, or Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Mary, which shows Mary smeared with elephant dung? So offended that you think they ought to be banned and the galleries that display them prosecuted? No? OK, then try replacing the religious figures in these pictures with the sacred icons of progressive politics, people such as and Nelson Mandela. How would you feel if you walked into an art gallery and saw an image of King submerged in urine or Mandela smeared with excrement?

Many people are likely to feel torn. Liberals know the reasoned arguments for freedom of expression and the importance of being consistent on matters of principle. On the other hand, it would be surprising if they did not also feel disgusted and affronted. How dare anyone pass off such gratuitously offensive images as works of art? Shouldn’t they be stopped? Jonathan Haidt, who gives a version of this thought experiment in his provocative new book, wants us to know that reason and instinctive outrage are always going to co-exist in cases like this. What’s more, in most instances, it’s the outrage that will be setting the agenda.

David Runciman’s Political Hypocrisy is published by Princeton.

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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 Righteous Mind By Jonathan Haidt Review

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

When Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination in the 2008 US presidential race, Jonathan Haidt was thrilled. After the inward-looking candidates chosen in previous races, here was a man able to speak to the centre and slaughter some sacred cows on his way to the White House. But as time went on, Haidt began to worry that once again his party’s candidate was talking only to his own supporters.

So the social psychologist wrote an essay on why people vote Republican and from that has evolved The Righteous Mind, which has been causing a stir in both Washington and Westminster.

Haidt looked at the usual ways psychologists explained away conservatism, such as strict parents or an overbearing fear of change. And he came to a radical conclusion: conservatives, rather than being victims of bad childhoods or possessing ugly personality traits, were just as sincere as liberals in wanting the best for society.

This may not sound such a startling statement. But many on the left are endlessly baffled as to why working-class voters seem to go against their own interests by supporting conservative politicians, those hated promoters of big business and tax cuts for the rich. They presume such voters are either stupid or are being tricked.

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The Evolution Of Haidts Moral Foundations

Haidt, a psychologist, leans heavily on evolutionary psychology to explain the origins of these foundations. Ill briefly review each and discuss the political implications of these moral taste buds. They are also summarized in the table below.

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, Haidt 2012

The Care/Harm foundation developed through the protection of childrenour ancestors cared for their children and helped them avoid harm in hopes of witnessing the survival of their genes in future generations. The Care/Harm foundation is seen in contemporary politics when Liberals put a Save Darfur bumper sticker on their car or when Conservatives do the same with a Wounded Warriors sticker. These are causes that interest us because we care about the individuals involved and wish for them to avoid harm. Interestingly, Liberals rely more on the Care/Harm foundation than Conservativesthis is evident in Liberal critiques of heartless Conservative policies on healthcare, education, or government spending.

The foundation was also developed in our tribal pasts. For a group to survive, a societal structure had to be established with a leader and followers. In politics today, the Authority/Subversion foundation applies to traditions, institutions, and values. It is more natural for Conservatives to rely on this foundation than Liberals, who define themselves in opposition to hierarchy, inequality, and power.

Riding The Moral Elephant: Rationality And Raw Human Experience

Haidt provides the helpful metaphor of the rider and the elephant. The rider is the conscious mind with its rational functions and volitional power. But the elephant is everything else: all the internal presuppositions, genetic inclinations, subconscious motives, and layers upon layers of uninterrogated, raw experience. Needless to say, the elephant is bigger than the rider.

As the rider responding to the elephant, our reasoning process has become well adjusted to the seemingly always-urgent task of justifying our deeper, always latent moral intuitions. Using another analogy, Haidt suggests that human minds are more comparable to lawyers and public relations consultants than they are to scientists who objectively seek the truth, whatever the implications of the conclusion. Our minds are well-adapted to providing post hoc justifications or explanations for the moral convictions, intuitions that we already possess.

We are emotional actors! We are highly intuitive beings who act first, and justify later. Our beliefs, convictions, and values are far less rational than we imagine.

This seems counter-intuitive because we have grand visions of ourselves as rational actors who make measured arguments and have thought carefully about our political affiliations, our moral convictions, and our religious beliefs.

But this is just not the way it actually works.

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The Coddling Of The American Mind

The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure , co-written with Greg Lukianoff, expands on an essay the authors wrote for The Atlantic in 2015. The book explores the rising political polarization and changing culture on college campuses and its effects on mental health. It also explores changes in childhood, including the rise of “fearful parenting,” the decline of unsupervised play, and the effects of social media in the last decade.

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

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

In The Righteous Mind, psychologist Jonathan Haidt answers some of the most compelling questions about human relationships:

Why can it sometimes feel as though half the population is living in a different moral universe? Why do ideas such as ‘fairness’ and ‘freedom’ mean such different things to different people? Why is it so hard to see things from another viewpoint? Why do we come to blows over politics and religion?

Jonathan Haidt reveals that we often find it hard to get along because our minds are hardwired to be moralistic, judgemental and self-righteous. He explores how morality evolved to enable us to form communities, and how moral values are not just about justice and equality – for some people authority, sanctity or loyalty matter more. Morality binds and blinds, but, using his own research, Haidt proves it is possible to liberate ourselves from the disputes that divide good people.

‘A landmark contribution to humanity’s understanding of itself’ The New York Times

‘A truly seminal book’ David Goodhart, Prospect

‘A tour de force – brave, brilliant, and eloquent. It will challenge the way you think about liberals and conservatives, atheism and religion, good and evil’ Paul Bloom, author of How Pleasure Works

‘Compelling . . . a fluid combination of erudition and entertainment’ Ian Birrell, Observer

‘Lucid and thought-provoking … deserves to be widely read’ Jenni Russell, Sunday Times

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More Jonathan Haidt Quotes From The Interview

I dont get mad. I look at systems and I always think, How can we make them better?’ Jonathan Haidt

If I see someone oppressing a whole society or acting in that monstrous way, not for any morally legitimate reason, I think we need to take action. Jonathan Haidt

Ive really come to see that a functioning society, it needs a Progressive wing pushing for change and it needs a Conservative wing saying, Slow down, tapping on the brakes. William F. Buckley stands athwart history, yelling, Stop. You need both in a healthy society. Jonathan Haidt

Our left is not Liberal. Our right is not Conservative. Were a mess. But societies need those two impulses. Jonathan Haidt

What Ive learned from studying morality is, in a polarization spiral or a culture war, the harder you hit your enemy, the stronger they get. And so you dont win by punching them really hard. You can never destroy them. Jonathan Haidt

Heterodox means there should be a variety of ways of thinking. We need that in order to be successful. Jonathan Haidt

You really need to seek out criticism. You need to seek out people who differ from you, and then, actually, youll get smarter. Jonathan Haidt

Shared anger is thrilling, and thats part of whats driving us off a cliff as a country. Jonathan Haidt

You get stronger by challenging yourself, by exposing yourself to threats and dangers within limits that you then surmount, and we have to do this with kids. Jonathan Haidt

A Call To Expand Our Palates

Despite the state of our politics today, there is hope. Haidt notes that, like taste buds, our moral foundations are organized in advance of experience,this means that they are formed at birth and refined through the experiences of our lives.

For instance, I never liked spicy food untiland this is trueI was blindfolded for a taste test and bit into an extremely spicy pepper while traveling in Israel. It hurt. I washed my mouth out with cold water for about ten minutes to soothe the burn. But after that, nothing felt spicy to me anymore. As a result, I developed a palate for spice.

I believe the same can be true of our politics. It will require us to try new foodseven food we end up dislikingbut we have to make the effort. Heres to trying more spicy peppers.

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Must Read For All Who Hope To Advance Us & Global Politics

This book was recommended to me by my 19 year son who is a neuroscience & philosophymajor at a Virginia university. He said “it should be required reading for all Americans, read it.” I’m a new PhD student in political science & international studies, this the timing was perfect. I learned a tremendous amount about unconscious assumptions I held, and recent historical developments during my lifetime. The insights, analysis and recommendations Professor Haidt makes in The Righteous Mind are likely to have a lasting impact on our collective political and moral lives. Clearly and beautifully conceived and written, I can’t wait to read the book format and delve into the bibliography after listening to the audio book. I’ve already recommended this book to several scholars and friends. It is good therapy if you’re watching and engaged with the US political landscape in any capacity. Many thanks to Jonathan Haidt for an outstanding contribution to the field of moral psychology, and for knitting together neuroscience, anthropology, and political sociology — well done!

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Our Moral Tastes: The Six Foundations Of Human Morality

A Visual Book Review of The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt

Haidts research suggests that human morality can be categorized roughly into six moral foundations, which he likens to taste receptors on the human tongue. Each of us responds differently to or is pulled more strongly by some of these receptors than by others. The moral impulses and values beneath major political affiliations can be described with reference to these six foundations.

The foundations are named by what you might call a dialectic of value, where each foundation has both positive and negative sides. They include:

Care / Harm

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The Elephant And The Rider

One widely cited metaphor throughout Haidt’s books is that of the elephant and the rider. His observations of social intuitionism, the notion that intuitions come first and rationalization second, led to the metaphor described in his work. The rider represents consciously controlled processes, and the elephant represents automatic processes. The metaphor corresponds to Systems 1 and 2 described in Daniel Kahneman‘s Thinking, Fast and Slow. This metaphor is used extensively in both The Happiness Hypothesis and The Righteous Mind.

Coddling Of The American Mind

In my with Greg Lukianoff, we argued that a new form of vindictive protectiveness is sweeping across American universities, with dire consequences not just for free inquiry but for the students own mental health.


Critical Responses: So far there has been hardly any pushback. The only criticisms published in major media are:

Other responses and extensions of the Ideas:

Miscellaneous Points Id like to make about vindictive protectiveness and the new PC:

  • > It is happening in the UK too, beginning as the no platforming movement . See this interview with Mick Hume of Spiked see this essay by Brendan ONeill on the Stepford Students See ,
  • > There is a brilliant sociological explanation for why the new vindictive protectiveness has emerged so suddenly, and why its likely to spread: America is transitioning from a culture of dignity to a culture of victimhood, as Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning explain here.


> South Park, on Safe Spaces:

> Sahill Gupta, a Yale Undergraduate, in a comedy sketch about the Coddling article, and how some students today want to go into airplane mode to cut themselves off from frightening things.

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Connecting Moral Foundations To Political Polarization

How, then, do these moral foundations explain why good people disagree on politics and policy? The answer is that Liberals and Conservatives have different palatesour taste buds are simply not the same. In the chart below, Haidt shows that Liberals rely heavily on Care/Harm and Fairness/Cheating while Conservatives rely on all five foundations somewhat equally.

Liberals and Conservatives Rely on Different Sets of Moral Foundations

There it is, as clear as daylight. We are talking past each other because of our moral foundations. Democrats say that attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act show that Conservatives dont care about low-income Americans while Republicans say that it infringes on their liberties. Democrats say that kneeling for the national anthem is a valid protest against a government that does not treat African Americans fairly while Republicans decry a lack of national loyalty, defending the sanctity of the national anthem. Read The Righteous Mind and the attendant body of scientific literature if you are still unconvinced.

Necessary Book For A Divided People

The Righteous Mind | Jonathan Haidt’s Theory of Moral Foundations

I’m so glad I heard this book during the 2016 U.S. election season. We are a divided people, and if we’re going to move forward we need to find our way back to an understanding of each other. If you want to try to understand people who think differently than you, buy this book. You’ll probably come away knowing more about yourself too. Even if you don’t agree with all his conclusions, the information in here’s too important to skip over! I have heard some other evolutionary psychology books, so I wondered if this would just be redundant, but it wasn’t. It really brings the evo psych knowledge to bear on political and social problems. Also the most convincing argument for group selection I’ve heard. But I think this would also make a great introduction if you’ve never heard any evolutionary psychology before. I intend to foist it on my unsuspecting husband next road trip.Jonathan Haidt gets an extra star on the performance because he actually verbally describes photos, charts, and graphs as well as making sure they are available online. He must be an audiobook listener himself.

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