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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...

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. 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.

(From Goodreads)

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Number of Pages: 419

ISBN: 0307377903

ISBN-13: 9780307377906


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Recommendations from around the web and our community.

[Marc Andresseen recommended this book in reply to: "You get to assign one book or article each to conservatives, liberals, and libertarians to correct what you perceive as the biggest blind spot of each. What are we all reading?"]

Think you’re absolutely right on the hot political, social or religious debate of the day? Before you get into it with your brother-in-law over Thanksgiving dinner, make sure you read this book. Jonathan Haidt does a masterful job of showing that the other side isn’t as crazy as w...

Think you’re absolutely right on the hot political, social or religious debate of the day? Before you get into it with your brother-in-law over Thanksgiving dinner, make sure you read this book. Jonathan Haidt does a masterful job of showing that the other side isn’t as crazy as we think, and in fact, we’re all a bit more crazy than we’d like to admit. He draws on decades of research to show that what we consider to be moral judgments are not formed by sound reasoning, but by intuition. Understanding why and how that happens is critical to understanding each other. And a necessary part of having an opinion.

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yes the two most important books to understand politics IMO are The Machiavellians and the Righteous Mind

I've read it. Great book.

“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 conser...

“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.”

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Recommended under What's your favorite book about psychology? (asked by Geoffrey Miller)
"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 m...

"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."

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“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.”

“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.”

“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!”

"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."