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

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Allen Lane, 2012 - Ethics - 419 pages

Why can it sometimes feel as though half the population is living in a different moral universe from you? Why do ideas such as 'fairness' and 'freedom' mean such different things to different people? Why is it so easy to see the flaws in others' arguments, and less in our own?

Jonathan Haidt, one of the world's most influential psychologists, reveals that the reason we find it so hard to get along is because our minds are designed to be moral. Not only that, we are hardwired to be moralistic, judgemental and self-righteous too. Our intrinsic morality enabled us to form communities and create civilization, and it is the key to understanding everybody. It explains why some of us are liberal, others conservative. It is often the difference between war and peace. It is also why we are the only species that will kill for an ideal. Drawing on moral psychology, ancient philosophy, modern politics, poetry, advertising and the semantics of bumper stickers, Haidt's incredibly wise and enjoyable book examines how morality evolves; why we are predisposed to believe certain things; how our surroundings can affect our morality; and how moral values are not just about justice and fairness - for some people authority, sanctity or loyalty are more important.

Morality binds and blinds, but with new evidence from his own empirical research, Haidt proves it is possible to liberate us from the disputes that divide good people and cooperate with those whose morals differ from our own. After all, they might just have something to say.

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User Review  - drbrand - LibraryThing

The points are all very well made. The Social Intuitionist Model is convincing and useful in understanding how ineffectual reason can be in a moral argument, but it would have been interesting to see ... Read full review

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User Review  - DerekCaelin - LibraryThing

Really thought provoking. Made me understand a little better how people think on the opposite sides of the spectrum, and how compelling moral arguments get made. (It's not just facts.) Read full review

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