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Synopsis

Why can’t our political leaders work together as threats loom and problems mount? Why do people so readily assume the worst about the motives of their fellow citizens? In The Righteous Mind, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores the origins of our divisions and points the way forward to mutual understanding.
 
His starting point is moral intuition—the nearly instantaneous perceptions we all have about other people and the things they do. These intuitions feel like self-evident truths, making us righteously certain that those who see things differently are wrong. Haidt shows us how these intuitions differ across cultures, including the cultures of the political left and right. He blends his own research findings with those of anthropologists, historians, and other psychologists to draw a map of the moral domain, and he explains why conservatives can navigate that map more skillfully than can liberals. He then examines the origins of morality, overturning the view that evolution made us fundamentally selfish creatures. But rather than arguing that we are innately altruistic, he makes a more subtle claim—that we are fundamentally groupish. It is our groupishness, he explains, that leads to our greatest joys, our religious divisions, and our political affiliations. In a stunning final chapter on ideology and civility, Haidt shows what each side is right about, and why we need the insights of liberals, conservatives, and libertarians to flourish as a nation.

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CUSTOMER REVIEWS

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
Average rating
3.7 / 5
Moral psycology
February 27th, 2014
Nice review of moral psychology and it's impact on religion and politics
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2 reviews
Moral psycology
February 27th, 2014
Nice review of moral psychology and it's impact on religion and politics
Helpful? Yes | No | Report

2 reviews
1 person found this helpful
Not as helpful as I had hoped
February 15th, 2014
A lot of good information in the first two parts. Well sourced and researched. He lost me when he gave religion a free pass, dismissing the evidence provided by authors like Dawkins and Harris. He instead chose the address a parody of their work and skip over the damage that the certainty of religion can enable. Once I saw the oversimplification of his conclusions, the rest of the book was frustrating and unhelpful to me. I'll try to take the insights forward with me as I ride my elephant into the sunset. But I'm afraid all this book has done is depress me, and make me feel like there really is no hope for humanity.
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1 review
Insight gained!
December 3rd, 2013
Moral psychology? Yes, I had no real idea of this as a discipline let alone as a means to explain some of society's fundamental frictions. A well written tome, chock full of both data and anecdotes. Appreciated the elegance of Moral Foundations theory, and the insights into moral frameworks. Gained a sense of the virtues (and challenges) of the major left/right political divide. And comforted myself (maybe confirmation bias?) about my growing awareness of the values and virtues of liberal thought after a long period of a personally conservative world view. I call tha, in sum, a good read.
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1 review
Misleading title, meandering book.
November 25th, 2013
The author spends very little time talking substantively about politics and political decision making. Instead, this is a too-long combination of literature review and theoretical case studies that provides the reader with a rather sweeping survey of moral psychology over the last two centuries. Some interesting stories about experiments. And maybe a chapter's worth of useful things to say about how we operate in the public arena.
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1 review
Most Significant Book I Have Read
July 7th, 2013
This book resonated with me more than any other book I have ever read. Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist so tackles this subject from that perspective with a fascinating history of human social and moral development. He synthesizes the work of many social psychologists and philosophical thinkers and applies that to his own novel research to create a fascinating and enlightened thesis that can help anyone better understand human behaviour especially in the context of politics and religion. Two of the most contentious issues in our society today. This book is very readable but be prepared to spend some effort - even the notes are worthwhile.
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1 review

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