Discuss The Righteous Mind

We choose one philosophical book per month to read. Then we discuss it as a group.

Nominate books to be philosophy book of the month.


UPCOMING BOOK

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How do you rate The Righteous Mind?

1 star - poor, recommend against reading it
1
20%
2 stars - fair, okay
0
No votes
3 stars - good, recommend it
3
60%
4 stars - excellent, amazing
1
20%
 
Total votes : 5

Discuss The Righteous Mind

Post Number:#1  Postby Scott » January 6th, 2014, 8:12 pm

Please use this topic to discuss the January 2014 philosophy book of the month, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt.
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Re: Discuss The Righteous Mind

Post Number:#2  Postby Radar » January 17th, 2014, 5:02 pm

I read the book a few months ago. In an interview, Haidt did not want to admit that conservatives are more "balanced" in their outlook than liberals. The illustrations in his book, however, show otherwise. His reluctance to admit to his own findings might have more to do with his own liberal bias (admitted to in the book), a desire to avoid controversy, or political correctness than anything else.
“In finem nostrae cognitionis Deum tamquam ignotum cognoscimus.”
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Re: Discuss The Righteous Mind

Post Number:#3  Postby PaulNZ » January 18th, 2014, 4:47 pm

That reaction might be in keeping with his own findings from the research quoted in the book Radar.

I read The Righteous Mind some months ago and found it quite profound. It had an impact in my life on how I react to those who disagree with me on topics where to my mind, there is clear evidence to support my view and negate theirs. It made me stop, think and question myself in those situations. It made me wait and ponder before responding, if indeed I responded at all.

The apparent process Haidt demonstrates in the book of making moral judgements is that the intuitive response is first, followed by strategic reasoning to support the intuitive response, whether or not the intuitive response is actually correct or not. We can by self examination and rational questioning of our reponse change our mind at a later stage.

It was both fascinating and a little frightening to read that we make these judgements largely in a subconscious manner, and then subsequent to that, add strategic reasoning to prop up the initial judgement. The process theorised by Haidt to have been brought about through evolution by an adaptation of the fight/flight response.

The natural intuitive response of many is as far as they get, often backed up by their strategic reasoning. We look for fault the other persons argument to support our own intuitive view, that is until we consciously make the effort to stop and examine our own point of view.

The book certainly makes some good points about the decision making process, faulty reasoning and self examination that are all very relevant to a philosophy forum.

A great read, which got me started on other books in the field!
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Re: Discuss The Righteous Mind

Post Number:#4  Postby Alan Jones » January 22nd, 2014, 4:44 pm

In his "The Righteous Mind", Jonathan Haidt says that westerners are righteous and partisan hypocrites. I equate this with saying that westerners are (they think like) schizotypal authoritarians. Haidt does not speak to the minority who enjoy questioning their assumptions (have let go of Truth) and who prefer tentative explanations to justifications.

Haidt and coworkers would systematize, would work out rationally, the moral sense. I found this on their website, moralfoundations.org: "We believe the Five Foundations are the best way to carve nature and culture at its joints when studying moral psychology."

Although I agree with humanistic psychologists that moral values can not be worked out rationally, I entertained the notion that tradional essentialist systematizing might help us understand moral values. In my reading about the Five Foundations I noted that survey results showed the care and fairness foundations to be held by everyone, but that the loyalty, authority, and sanctity foundations are held by a subset of those surveyed. How can this be? Perhaps it is because empathy is expressed with care and fairness, and that loyaly, authority, and sanctity are means of controlling such expressions.

Traditional authoritarian and essentialist distinctions of kind can be replaced with distinctions of degree and complexity. Metaphors of vertical distance and separateness can be replaced by metaphors of horizontal extent and inclusion. Jonathan Haidt's psychology and language that would carve nature and culture at its joints supports (or at least apologizes for) notions imposed by authoritarians and their institutions. I believe it should be replaced by a humanistic psychology and a language of most workable explanations.
"Beliefs are what divide people. Doubt unites them." - Peter Ustinov "Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority." - Thomas Huxley
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Re: Discuss The Righteous Mind

Post Number:#5  Postby Radar » January 22nd, 2014, 6:26 pm

Alan Jones wrote:In his "The Righteous Mind", Jonathan Haidt says that westerners are righteous and partisan hypocrites. I equate this with saying that westerners are (they think like) schizotypal authoritarians. Haidt does not speak to the minority who enjoy questioning their assumptions (have let go of Truth) and who prefer tentative explanations to justifications.

Haidt and coworkers would systematize, would work out rationally, the moral sense. I found this on their website, moralfoundations.org: "We believe the Five Foundations are the best way to carve nature and culture at its joints when studying moral psychology."

Although I agree with humanistic psychologists that moral values can not be worked out rationally, I entertained the notion that tradional essentialist systematizing might help us understand moral values. In my reading about the Five Foundations I noted that survey results showed the care and fairness foundations to be held by everyone, but that the loyalty, authority, and sanctity foundations are held by a subset of those surveyed. How can this be? Perhaps it is because empathy is expressed with care and fairness, and that loyaly, authority, and sanctity are means of controlling such expressions.

Traditional authoritarian and essentialist distinctions of kind can be replaced with distinctions of degree and complexity. Metaphors of vertical distance and separateness can be replaced by metaphors of horizontal extent and inclusion. Jonathan Haidt's psychology and language that would carve nature and culture at its joints supports (or at least apologizes for) notions imposed by authoritarians and their institutions. I believe it should be replaced by a humanistic psychology and a language of most workable explanations.

I would like to submit this post as evidence that Haidt was right, as it does indeed seem righteous and partisan.
“In finem nostrae cognitionis Deum tamquam ignotum cognoscimus.”
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Re: Discuss The Righteous Mind

Post Number:#6  Postby Alan Jones » January 23rd, 2014, 11:06 am

Hello Radar, What is righteous or partisan about anti-authoritarianism?
"Beliefs are what divide people. Doubt unites them." - Peter Ustinov "Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority." - Thomas Huxley
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Re: Discuss The Righteous Mind

Post Number:#7  Postby Prof » March 7th, 2014, 4:17 am

Haidt offers (on page 274),this definition of "moral systems":

"Moral systems are interlocking sets of values, virtues, norms, practices, identities, institutions, technologies, and evolved psychological mechanisms that work together to suppress or regulate self-interest and make cooperative societies possible."

I feel moved to respond: No. This is not how I like to use the concept "self-interest." I have a chapter on this in ETHICS: A College Course. [Click on the second item referenced in the link in the signature below.] Allow me to explain.

Cooperation for the common good IS in our self-interest ! When we reflect on that thought, focus on it, believe it, and live it, we realize that there is no need 'to suppress,' nor 'to regulate' our self-interest. We will discover, though, that our selfishness - and our self-centeredness - have been drastically reduced

.You see the distinctions I am drawing? It would be best, I argue, to use the term "selfishness" when we mean a self-aggrandizing kind of self-interest, and reserve the term "self-interest" to mean a good and natural human trait (almost synonymous with the longer, more-unwieldy phrase: enlightened self-interest.) E.g., "When we know our self-interest we will vote for sincerely ethical candidates for public office."

I have a disagreement with Haidt in his choice of words, and it may not be merely a stylistic matter. For purposes of building a good theory of Ethics we ought be very careful in our use of words.

I am not far apart from Haidt in his view that one of the benefits of an ethical system is to help make society function better. When we cooperate on a worthwhile goal we are all better off :!: :D

Comments?
To learn more on ethical topics, check out these references:onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/viewtop ... amp;t=6097
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Re: Discuss The Righteous Mind

Post Number:#8  Postby Logic_ill » May 3rd, 2014, 10:22 pm

i cannot know any mind,...
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Re: Discuss The Righteous Mind

Post Number:#9  Postby Alan Jones » December 23rd, 2015, 4:55 pm

My comment that Haidt's "moral foundations" should not include authoritarian "moral foundations" is supported by a study of the effects of damage to ventro-medial pre-frontal cortices. An excerpt from "Authoritarianism, religious fundamentalism, and the human prefrontal cortex", Erik Asp, Kanchna Ramchandran, and Daniel Tranel, Neuropsychology, July 26, 2012:

Our findings indicate that vmPFC damage increased authoritarianism, as measured by a psychometric attitudinal scale. Beyond this scale, behavioral and experimental evidence suggests that vmPFC patients exhibit characteristics similar to those often seen in healthy individuals with high authoritarianism and fundamentalism. Healthy individuals high in authoritarianism demonstrate diminished empathy and guilt, increased punitive judgments, and increased endorsement of immoral, hurtful actions. VMPFC patients have acquired deficits in empathy and guilt, tend to manifest punitive behavior, and often endorse moral violations. Reflecting their decreased empathy, healthy authoritarians are also profoundly egocentric as most prominently illustrated by their blindness to their own faults and vices. Llikewise, vmPFC patients are notable for being egocentric and having poor insight into their own deficits.

In sum, the behavioral and personality profile of patients with damage to the vmPFC is strongly reminiscent of authoritarian individuals, consistent with the interpretation that prefrontal damage increases authoritarianism and fundamentalism. This profile arises in the absence of deficits in general intelligence or working memory consistent with the finding that healthy authoritarians have intact general intelligence and even arises in the absence of deficits on putative frontal lobe functioning or executive functioning tests. Thus, the increase in authoritarianism and fundamentalism is not due to a general cognitive or executive functioning deficit per se.
"Beliefs are what divide people. Doubt unites them." - Peter Ustinov "Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority." - Thomas Huxley
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Re: Discuss The Righteous Mind

Post Number:#10  Postby Niebieskieucho » December 25th, 2015, 10:59 am

Scott wrote:Please...


As there is no way to to contact you, I took the liberty to sent my message to you, by means of this post which should obviously be cancelled

=-=-=
Kindly delete my last post of today to Alec Smart, as I've already answered him earlier and overlooked it.

Thank you
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Re: Discuss The Righteous Mind

Post Number:#11  Postby Bronxguy » January 9th, 2016, 3:36 am

Well, I went and ordered a copy of The Righteous Mind, specifying fast delivery. I might have some remarks to offer in a little while now.

----Denis
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