- Paperback: 528 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (2 May 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141039167
- ISBN-13: 978-0141039169
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion Paperback – 2 May 2013
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More About the Author
A truly seminal book (Prospect)
A fascinating voyage of discovery through the social psychology of politics (Simon Jenkins Guardian)
This elegantly written book has far-reaching implications for anyone interested in politics, religion, or the many controversies that divide modern societies. If you want to know why you hold your moral beliefs and why many people disagree with you, read this book (Simon Baron-Cohen)
A remarkable and original synthesis of social psychology, political analysis, and moral reasoning that reflects the best of sciences in these fields (Edward O. Wilson)
A tour de force - a brave, brilliant, and eloquent exploration of the most important issues of our time. It will challenge the way you think about liberals and conservatives, atheism and religion, good and evil. This is the book that everyone will be talking about (Paul Bloom)
For the reader who seeks to understand happiness, my advice is: Begin with Haidt (Martin E P Seligman, professor of psychology, University of Pennsylvania)
[Haidt's] arguments are lucid and thought-provoking. They deserve to be widely read (The Sunday Times) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Jonathan Haidt is a social and cultural psychologist. He has been on the faculty of the University of Virginia since 1995 and is currently a visiting professor of business ethics at New York University's Stern School of Business. He is the co-editor of Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well Lived, and is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The author, a social and cultural psychologist, declares himself to be a straight-down-the-line liberal (in the American sense) atheist, but seems to have changed his mind in the course of writing the book, or at least in the course of researching for it. The book is in three parts, each with its own conclusion. Part I is headed "Intuitions Come First, Strategic Reasoning Second", and demonstrates how, rather than using evidence and reasoning to reach a conclusion about what our opinions ought to be, we almost invariably start with our instinctive conclusion and then search around for arguments to fit that conclusion, ignoring counter-arguments. This is why debates, whether about politics, religion, or anything else, so often degenerate to shouting matches.
Part II is called "There's More to Morality than Harm and Fairness", and this is where the author seems to have undergone a personal conversion from his straight-down-the-line liberalism. He identifies five strands of morality, and finds that liberals (again, in the American sense) tend to concentrate on just one or two strands, such as fighting oppression, while conservatives embrace all five, including respect for authority which is low in the liberal priority list. He concludes that the Democratic Party (which he supports) needs to learn important lessons from this research. If I can emphasise one key point: everybody claims to agree with "fairness", but they mean different things by it. The Left tends to mean equality, the Right to mean getting what you deserve. I cringe every time I hear a politician call for "fairness", without defining what they mean.Read more ›
This does mean that it takes a while to actually get to the point of explaining 'why good people are divided by politics and religion' because, for example, it outlines a theory and then mentions how that theory turned out to have a flaw and then describes how the author revised it and then lays out the new version, so you end up with several iterations of the theory. This is a 400-page book with the last 100 pages being references, acknowledgements, notes and bibliography, so really 300 pages of the proper book and it is not until the last few pages that the question of the title is really addressed, but that is not a problem because you really do need to build up to it.
There are two main metaphors used in the book. One is to picture the mind as a rider (representing the logical mind) on an elephant (representing the emotional mind). By coincidence I have now started reading abook about decision-making processes which covers a lot of the same ground regarding the relationship between logic and emotions, and draws on some of the same references. I'll admit that I found the metaphor a bit cute at first but eventually came to terms with it.
The other metaphor is the description on the human mind as being 90% chimpanzee and 10% bee to explain how we sometimes act for our personal benefit and sometimes for the benefit of the community.
This was where it got especially interesting as it picked up on some of Darwin's ideas about social evolution and developed them.Read more ›
Testing large numbers of subjects with questions such as 'Is it wrong for a brother and sister to have sex as a one-off experiment, using contraceptives?' and 'A man's dog is killed in a road accident; is it wrong for him to cook and eat it?' Subjects were also asked to explain their answers. People did not consciously refer to abstract values when they made their decisions. They reacted instantly to the scenarios and often could not explain their responses. Haidt uses the metaphor of the elephant and its rider for this; our unconscious mind throws up intuitions, which our conscious mind then tries to explain and perhaps redirect.
Analysis of the results found that people use six bases for their judgements, which Haidt likens to a tongue with six taste receptors: care, fairness, loyalty, respect for authority and sanctity; these were the five of the initial hypothesis, but it emerged from the research that there is a sixth - liberty. Each of these is hypothesized to have had survival value for our ancestors, contributing to the flourishing and survival of the individual and the group.
The balance between individual and group has produced a species that behaves 90% like the chimpanzee and 10% like the bee. Haidt found that people's moral views were correlated with their political positions.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
wonderful book for a teenager trying to discover what he thinks and who he/she is.Published 1 month ago by Anthony
The author uses this book to make powerful and pertinent points about the nature and diversity of morality. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Dr. H. J. Ziman
As the author admits, he is writing a work of description and not of prescription. Which means it is psychology and not philosophy - and it could do with a dose of the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Robert John
This is a totally fascinating read.
I bought it on recommendation from my mum, as both of us were thinking about the incredible animosity being shown by the left... Read more
Intelligent if somewhat controversial look at the roots of political thought, but with much wider implications for understanding human behaviour.Published 6 months ago by philor
Everyone should read it
fantastic explanation as to why and how people argue across each other rather that dicuss or debate rationally.
One of my best reads ever. If you've ever debated a point of view that you KNOW is right, and don't understand why other people don't 'get it' like you do, then this book is for... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Mr. M. W. Hyde
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