The Righteous Mind

The Righteous Mind

Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

Book - 2012
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A groundbreaking investigation into the origins of morality, which turns out to be the basis for religion and politics. The book explains the American culture wars and refutes the "New Atheists."
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, c2012.
ISBN: 9780307377906
Characteristics: xvii, 419 pages :,illustrations ;,25 cm.


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Feb 27, 2021

University professor Jonathan Haidt lectures about moral psychology in this text-book perfect academic study about how humans learn to identify right from wrong. Along the way, Haidt explores key academic topics including evolutionary biology, historical anthropology, philosophy, and social psychology. The last section of the book examines how these theories apply to different religions and to different political factions within the United States.

Feb 11, 2021

I read this book to gain a better understanding of how people in my greater community could believe in ideology so foreign to me. Why do people vote against their own interests.... It seems the divide in our country is increasing at an alarming rate. Haidt has thoroughly researched and explained his positions in great detail. He makes a point to summarize this main points often so it is easy to come away w/ his dominant thoughts/theories. I found his " 6 moral foundations" most helpful. I found this book to be insightful and extra resources are provided.

Mar 15, 2020

How genetics, environment, culture, experience, psychology and groups influence a mindset.

Feb 08, 2020

The best view Haidt expressed in this analysis of the Righteous Mind is both Liberals and Conservatives are important to a continued Democracy as each brings a critically needed perspective. I did find his view that Conservatives hold an advantage as they retain strength in all 5 pillars of morality - Care/Fairness/Loyalty/Authority/Sanctity - thus giving them a political advantage as much of the population values all these pillars, whereas Liberals strength is predominately in Care/Fairness, a bit specious. It is Conservatives who deny science, evolution, climate change, and are more supportive of Corporations, environmental degradation and social control. If having a strong belief in Loyalty/Authority/Sanctity supports these views, it isn't surprising that thinking, intelligent people turn away from these 'pillars'. I'm continually amazed at the length people will go to to justify support of the current hugely flawed President of the United States, and efforts made to justify the unfailing support of the Republican party of this vulgar, reprehensible, national divider. Anyone who can claim to be Righteous and hold all the pillars of morality while at the same time observing and supporting the continual destructive behavior of the current Republican party and President is, in my opinion, delusional.

Nov 03, 2019

The research is believable. The conclusion is hopeful. A Good book.

Oct 11, 2019

This guy is patting himself on the back for having a habit of having sexual relations with chicken corpses and rejecting religion. All morality is a lie apparently as long as it doesn't hurt other people, so the solution is to trick people into associating positive traits with things they'd be against, that's not psychotic at all! The other solution is just no have no moral standards and consider that everything doesn't matter, the universe is a lie, etc. This man has wasted his time citing several studies that come the conclusion that any rebellious, "woke", naive 12 year old could come to. The only thing I appreciate here is the note that liberal thought has changed over the years, and hence the definition of the word is radically different in some ways which makes history confusing.

Apr 03, 2019

An excellent book. Thought provoking content. Makes me see conservatives in a more friendly light

Jan 31, 2019

Vous êtes-vous déjà demandé pourquoi les pauvres votent à droite, contre leur propre intérêt? C'est parce que les partis de droite font appel à un plus large éventail de valeurs, notamment la loyauté, l'autorité et le sens du sacré. La gauche, en général, dénigre ces valeurs, ce qui la prive d'une bonne partie de l'électorat.
La droite conservatrice s'adresse beaucoup à l'instinct, tandis que la gauche privilégie la raison. Or, selon l'auteur, l'instinct l'emporte presque toujours.
Une lecture stimulante et convaincante que je recommande à tous, et surtout à ceux qui s'identifient au progressisme.

Sep 29, 2018

Although the author covers a lot of interesting and relevant material, I believe that because he is both a liberal and an atheist, his coverage is myopic. For example, he totally dismisses ALL religion as pure myth. [I personally find overwhelming scientific evidence--through intelligent design--for the existence of God, and social evidence for the validity of Judaism and Christianity--from a multitude of witnesses willing to die.] Yet much "morality" emanates from religion. [He also errs about blaming multiple millions of murders on religion, when it was primarily socialists (Nazis) and communists.] Additionally, he claims liberals have a major concern for the vulnerable, but somehow misses their overwhelming support of abortion--the intentional killing of the unborn--even when the child ("tissue" to the liberals) is able to survive outside the womb.
Furthermore, he ignores the radicalization of the Left that we have seen over the past 30 years. This was quite evident in the two "stories" he used to describe first liberals and then conservatives. A careful reading of the liberal story showed about five extremist adjectives in their reactions. Such a tendency toward incivility should have been part of his study.
My experience as a conservative has been that facts don't matter to a liberal. Haidt seems to contend that that is true for everyone. But again, Haidt's studies don't cover sufficiently what happens when further information is afforded the people being tested.
In summary, an interesting read. But be cautious and understand the author's bias.

Sep 29, 2018

This book is fascinating and very readable. I see others have already commented on the rider and the elephant, so I will share this:

Metaphor: The righteous mind is like a tongue with six different taste receptors.

Secular Western moralities try to activate just two receptors: concerns about harm and suffering, or concerns about fairness and injustice. There are other powerful intuitions: liberty, loyalty, authority, and sanctity. Conservatives tend to value all six. This gives politicians on the right a built-in advantage in reaching all those elephants.

The author defines WEIRD: Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic. WEIRD people are outliers in the world of morality. The WEIRDer one is, the more that person sees a world full of separate objects, instead of a world of relationships. Individual rights and choices are much more important to the WEIRD people than the needs of the group. The vast majority of the world values relationships and the needs of the group above the rights and choices of the individual.

If you want to understand where others are coming from, please read this book.

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Dec 16, 2017

The Righteous Mind is good as far as it goes. Haidt's premises make sense and are useful but I found the book a chore to read as it is basically a text book.

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