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The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion Paperback – 2 May 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews

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Product details

  • 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: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"What drives our personal morality (like judging that eating your pet dog after it dies is bad)? What determines our political or religious beliefs (like preferring burial over cremation)? Why do some people love new experiences (for example, trying new foods) whilst others treating them as 'untouchable'? Jon Haidt's highly readable book is an elegantly written revelation of how powerful evolved emotions (like betrayal or disgust) sway our judgment and our reasons for our values (like loyalty or justice). His research has revolutionized the field of moral psychology by 'Darwinizing' it, providing answers to questions that have puzzled philosophers for millenia. His book has far-reaching implications for anthropology, politics, moral philosophy and social psychology. If you want someone to get under your skin, to surgically reveal why you feel your beliefs are right, read this book." -Simon Baron-Cohen, Cambridge University, Author of "Zero Degrees of Empathy "and" The Science of Evil "

"Haidt's research has revolutionized the field of moral psychology. His 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, Cambridge University, Author of "Zero Degrees of Empathy "and" The Science of Evil "
"A profound discussion of the diverse psychological roots of morality and their role in producing political conflicts. It's not too much to hope that the book will help to reduce those conflicts." -Richard E. Nisbett, University of Michigan
"Jonathan Haidt is one of smartest and most creative psychologists alive, and his newest book, "The Righteous Mind" is 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 anda

"Jonathan Haidt is one of smartest and most creative psychologists alive, and his newest book, "The Righteous Mind, " is 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, Yale University, Author of" How Pleasure Works"
"As a fellow who listens to heated political debate daily, I was fascinated, enlightened, and even amused by Haidt's brilliant insights. This penetrating yet accessible book will help readers understand the righteous minds that inhabit politics." --Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, author of "A More Perfect Constitution"
"A remarkable and original synthesis of social psychology, political analysis, and moral reasoning that reflects the best of sciences in these fields and adds evidence that we are innately capable of the decency and righteousness needed for societies to survive." --Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
"A profound discussion of the diverse psychological roots of morality and their role in producing political conflicts. It's not too much to hope that the book will help to reduce those conflicts." --Richard E. Nisbett, University of Michigan, author of "The Geography of Thought"
"The "Righteous Mind" refutes the "New Atheists" and shows that religion is a central part of our moral heritage. Haidt's brilliant synthesis shows that Christians have nothing to fear and much to gain from the evolutionary paradigm."--Michael Dowd, author of "Thank God for Evolution"
"Haidt's research has revolutionized the field of moral psychology. 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 belief

"Haidt is looking for more than victory. He's looking for wisdom. That's what makes "The Righteous Mind" well worth reading...a landmark contribution to humanity's understanding of itself." -"New York Times Book Review"
"Jonathan Haidt is one of smartest and most creative psychologists alive, and his newest book, "The Righteous Mind, " is 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, Yale University, Author of" How Pleasure Works"
"As a fellow who listens to heated political debate daily, I was fascinated, enlightened, and even amused by Haidt's brilliant insights. This penetrating yet accessible book will help readers understand the righteous minds that inhabit politics." --Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, author of "A More Perfect Constitution"
"A remarkable and original synthesis of social psychology, political analysis, and moral reasoning that reflects the best of sciences in these fields and adds evidence that we are innately capable of the decency and righteousness needed for societies to survive." --Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
"Here is the first attempt to give an in depth analysis of the underlying moral stance and dispositions of liberals and conservatives. I couldn't put it down and discovered things about myself!" --Michael Gazzaniga, University of California, Santa Barbara, author of "The Ethical Brain"
"Haidt's a good thing." -"The Atlantic" online
"A well-informed tour of contemporary moral psychology...A cogent rendering of a moral universe of fertile complexity and latent flexibility." -"Kirkus "
"[Haidt's] framework for the different moral universes of liberals and conservatives struck me as a brilliant breakthrough..."The Righteous Mind "provides an invaluable road map." -Miller-McCune.com
"A much-needed voice of moral sanity." -"Booklist"
"An important and timely book...His ideas are controversial but they make you think...Haidt has made his reputation as a social psychologist at the University of Virginia, where he and his colleagues explore reason and intuition, why people disagree so passionately and how the moral mind works." --Bill Moyers, Moyers & Company
"Highly readable, highly insightful...The principal posture in which one envisions him is that of a scrappy, voluble, discerning patriot standing between the warring factions in American politics urging each to see the other's viewpoint, to stop demonizing, bashing, clobbering...Haidt's real contribution, in my judgment, is inviting us all to sit at the table." -"Washington Times"
"Haidt's work feels particularly relevant now..."The Righteous Mind" isn't just election-year reading. Haidt's perspective can help us better understand our own political and religious leanings." -"San Francisco Chronicle
""Ingenious prose...Beautifully written, Haidt's book shines a new and creative light on moral psychology and presents a provocative message." "-Science
""A profound discussion of the diverse psychological roots of morality and their role in producing political conflicts. It's not too much to hope that the book will help to reduce those conflicts." --Richard E. Nisbett, University of Michigan, author of "The Geography of Thought
"
""The Righteous Mind" refutes the 'New Atheists' and shows that religion is a central part of our moral heritage. Haidt's brilliant synthesis shows that Christians have nothing to fear and much to gain from the evolutionary paradigm."--Michael Dowd, author of" Thank God for Evolution
""Haidt's research has revolutionized the field of moral psychology. 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, Cambridge University, Author of" The Science of Evil
" ""The Righteous Mind" is an intellectual tour de force that brings Darwinian theorizing to the practical realm of everyday politics. The book is beautifully written, and it is truly unusual to encounter a book that makes a major theoretical contribution yet encourages one to turn its pages enthusiastically." --Christopher Boehm, " University of Southern California, " author of" Moral Origins.
""A rich, intriguing contribution to positive psychology. Recommended." "-Choice Magazine
""Can help bridge the ever-widening gaps that occur in politics...This is not one of those books where a researcher boils down a complex subject into a simple tag line. Haidt takes readers on a journey through that complexity, so that we can understand the nuances and contradictions inherent in human morality." "-Psychology News
"

Haidt is looking for more than victory. He s looking for wisdom. That s what makes "The Righteous Mind" well worth reading a landmark contribution to humanity s understanding of itself. "New York Times Book Review"
Jonathan Haidt is one of smartest and most creative psychologists alive, and his newest book, "The Righteous Mind, "is 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, Yale University, Author of" How Pleasure Works"
As a fellow who listens to heated political debate daily, I was fascinated, enlightened, and even amused by Haidt's brilliant insights. This penetrating yet accessible book will help readers understand the righteous minds that inhabit politics. Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, author of "A More Perfect Constitution"
A remarkable and original synthesis of social psychology, political analysis, and moral reasoning that reflects the best of sciences in these fields and adds evidence that we are innately capable of the decency and righteousness needed for societies to survive. Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
Here is thefirst attempt to give an in depth analysis of the underlying moral stance and dispositions of liberals and conservatives. I couldn't put it down and discovered things about myself! Michael Gazzaniga, University of California, Santa Barbara, author of "The Ethical Brain"
Haidt s a good thing. "The Atlantic" online
A well-informed tour of contemporary moral psychology A cogent rendering of a moral universe of fertile complexity and latent flexibility. "Kirkus "
[Haidt s] framework for the different moral universes of liberals and conservatives struck me as a brilliant breakthrough "The Righteous Mind "provides an invaluable road map. Miller-McCune.com
A much-needed voice of moral sanity. "Booklist"
"An important and timely book His ideas are controversial but they make you think Haidt has made his reputation as a social psychologist at the University of Virginia, where he and his colleagues explore reason and intuition, why people disagree so passionately and how the moral mind works." Bill Moyers, Moyers & Company
Highly readable, highly insightful The principal posture in which one envisions him is that of a scrappy, voluble, discerning patriot standing between the warring factions in American politics urging each to see the other s viewpoint, to stop demonizing, bashing, clobbering Haidt s real contribution, in my judgment, is inviting us all to sit at the table. "Washington Times"
Haidt's work feels particularly relevant now "The Righteous Mind" isn't just election-year reading. Haidt's perspective can help us better understand our own political and religious leanings. "San Francisco Chronicle
" Ingenious prose Beautifully written, Haidt s book shines a new and creative light on moral psychology and presents a provocative message. " Science
""A profound discussion of the diverse psychological roots of morality and their role in producing political conflicts. It's not too much to hope that the book will help to reduce those conflicts." Richard E. Nisbett, University of Michigan, author of "The Geography of Thought
"
""The Righteous Mind"refutes the 'New Atheists' and shows that religion is a central part of our moral heritage. Haidt's brilliant synthesis shows that Christians have nothing to fear and much to gain from the evolutionary paradigm." Michael Dowd, author of"Thank God for Evolution
""Haidt's research has revolutionized the field of moral psychology. 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, Cambridge University, Author of" The Science of Evil
" "The Righteous Mind"is an intellectual tour de force that brings Darwinian theorizing to the practical realm of everyday politics. The book is beautifully written, and it is truly unusual to encounter a book that makes a major theoretical contribution yet encourages one to turn its pages enthusiastically. ChristopherBoehm, " University of Southern California, " author of"Moral Origins.
" A rich, intriguing contribution to positive psychology. Recommended. " Choice Magazine
" Can help bridge the ever-widening gaps that occur in politics This is not one of those books where a researcher boils down a complex subject into a simple tag line. Haidt takes readers on a journey through that complexity, so that we can understand the nuances and contradictions inherent in human morality. " Psychology News
"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Jonathan Haidtis the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University's Stern School of Business. He is the author of "The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom." He lives in New York City." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I think this is a very important book, which politicians (among others) will be advised to read, and which will teach you something about yourself.
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.
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This is an important book and one that will test readers' objectivity, for it draws conclusions about differences between conservatives and liberals (American sense) in how they make judgements. It reports years of painstaking research in evolutionary psychology, which in itself will put off those conservatives who prefer Genesis to Darwin. Haidt finds that liberals judge things on a narrower basis, which may upset them.
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.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This review has taken longer to write than some, because there is a lot of material in this book and I wanted to do it justice. All those with polarised views should read this to see how we can live together better.

The basic idea of the book is that we are divided by our own moral codes which can make us self-righteous and judgemental. Jonathan Haidt sets out how we can live together without forgetting that the moral codes (or matrices to use his term) of others are equally valid and we do well to seek commonality and understanding before jumping in with our own absolute view of morality. Very much food for thought for those engaged in politics or religion.

Well laid out with summaries of each chapter (headed "in sum") if you want to get the gist of what has been said readily before getting down to the detail. There is an introduction which sets out his aims and a conclusion which means he has three goes at getting his views across!

More academic in tone with 50 plus pages of notes, 28 pages of references and 13 page index. The author is American and thus some of the comments and examples relate to USA but are applicable to UK as well. I found it readable but some parts heavier than others - this is where the "in sum" sections are helpful.
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By A. Skudder TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 April 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I found this to be a completely fascinating book. As well as presenting a theory about moral psychology it also covers the author's journey to reaching that theory.

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.
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