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


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

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    Available in PDF Format | The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.pdf | English
    Jonathan Haidt(Author)

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

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.

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Book details

  • PDF | 528 pages
  • Jonathan Haidt(Author)
  • Penguin (2 May 2013)
  • English
  • 5
  • Health, Family & Lifestyle
Read online or download a free book: The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion

Review Text

  • By Debbie53 on 27 June 2017

    Interesting concepts and ideas. This is not a book for simple entertainment.You need to be ready to put some thought into it. I personally think it wouldbe an excellent group discussion book.

  • By Rui on 26 June 2017

    Very interesting book

  • By PoliticalGeek on 28 November 2016

    Hard work to get through but worth it

  • By Guest on 3 September 2017

    Haidt offers a well researched and presented framework for understanding political and religious differences of opinion; an important work in the current highly polarised climate

  • By Pipistrel on 16 May 2012

    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. Liberals were chiefly, though not exclusively concerned with care, fairness and liberty, while conservatives invoked the whole range of bases for their judgements. I imagine that conservatives will like this result, feeling that it makes them more completely human. Liberals may argue that the values they focus on are more highly evolved, emphasizing the well-being of individual more than that of the group. A dispassionate view would argue that both approaches are important.Haidt himself, an avowed liberal, has been mellowed by his research. His book should help America's increasingly polarized society to cultivate dialogue and mutual respect between its factions. It deserves a wide readership, being clearly written, well structured and full of concrete examples.

  • By hayleylou on 28 May 2017

    Perhaps we'd be a bit more understanding of each other and less polarised if we did. Compellingly-written, fascinating insights with a regular smattering of "eureka" moments. One of the best books I've read to challenge my perspectives and give me new insights into life and humanity. A must-read!

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