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The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion Hardcover – Mar 13 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1 edition (March 13 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307377903
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307377906
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.6 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 703 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #27,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Haidt is looking for more than victory. He’s looking for wisdom. That’s what makes The Righteous Mind well worth reading…a landmark contribution to humanity’s understanding of itself.” –New York Times Book Review  

“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.”—Paul Bloom, Yale University, Author of How Pleasure Works
“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.” —Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, author of A More Perfect Constitution
“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.” —Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University

“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!” —Michael Gazzaniga, University of California, Santa Barbara, author of The Ethical Brain

“Haidt’s a good thing.” –The Atlantic online 
“A well-informed tour of contemporary moral psychology…A cogent rendering of a moral universe of fertile complexity and latent flexibility.” –Kirkus

“[Haidt’s] framework for the different moral universes of liberals and conservatives struck me as a brilliant breakthrough…The Righteous Mind provides an invaluable road map.” –Miller-McCune.com 

“A much-needed voice of moral sanity.” –Booklist  
"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." —Bill Moyers, Moyers & Company

Highly readable, highly insightful…The principal posture in which one envisions him is that of a scrappy, voluble, discerning patriot standing between the warring factions in American politics urging each to see the other’s viewpoint, to stop demonizing, bashing, clobbering…Haidt’s real contribution, in my judgment, is inviting us all to sit at the table.” –Washington Times  

“Haidt's work feels particularly relevant now…The Righteous Mind isn't just election-year reading. Haidt's perspective can help us better understand our own political and religious leanings.” –San Francisco Chronicle

“Ingenious prose…Beautifully written, Haidt’s book shines a new and creative light on moral psychology and presents a provocative message.” –Science   

"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." —Richard E. Nisbett, University of Michigan, author of The Geography of Thought
"The Righteous Mind refutes the 'New Atheists' and shows that religion is a central part of our moral heritage. Haidt's brilliant synthesis shows that Christians have nothing to fear and much to gain from the evolutionary paradigm."—Michael Dowd, author of Thank God for Evolution
"Haidt's research has revolutionized the field of moral psychology. This elegantly written book has far-reaching implications for anyone interested in politics, religion, or the many controversies that divide modern societies. If you want to know why you hold your moral beliefs, and why many people disagree with you, read this book".  —Simon Baron-Cohen, Cambridge University, Author of The Science of Evil 
 “The Righteous Mind is an intellectual tour de force that brings Darwinian theorizing to the practical realm of everyday politics. The book is beautifully written, and it is truly unusual to encounter a book that makes a major theoretical contribution yet encourages one to turn its pages enthusiastically.” —Christopher Boehm, University of Southern California, author of Moral Origins.

“A rich, intriguing contribution to positive psychology. Recommended.” –Choice Magazine 

“Can help bridge the ever-widening gaps that occur in politics…This is not one of those books where a researcher boils down a complex subject into a simple tag line. Haidt takes readers on a journey through that complexity, so that we can understand the nuances and contradictions inherent in human morality.” –Psychology News

About the Author

Jonathan Haidt is the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University's Stern School of Business. He is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom. He lives in New York City.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This engaging 318-page book is an invitation for all of us to get along and learn to live together peacefully. The book is intended to provide some understanding of, and provide a roadmap for, being in the world. Author Jonathan Haidt---Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia---ushers readers through a tapestry of diverse---yet creatively connected---academic disciples to present his arguments and to help the reader understand better the human condition and human nature.
Readers are taken through a diverse lattice of politics, religion, social psychology, morality, intuition, reasoning, rationalism, individualism, "groupism" , sociocentrism, transcendentalism, empiricism, nativism, deotology and empathy, to name just a few. Philosophical cameo appearances are made by John Stuart Mill, Emile Durkheim and David Hume.
The fundamental argument of the book is that emotion, rather than reason, governs human nature ; and that emotion is the foundation of morality. Haidt asserts we have six moral senses that includes sanctity, fairness, liberty, loyalty, authority, and caring. These emotional senses occupy and apply to situations in a ore powerful way than does reason or rationality.
Readers---and potnetial readers---who are not that interested in politics, philosophy,religion, psychology, morality, emotionalism, or reason will find this book heavy sledding. Such readers will not likely make it through the book.
Readers who are drawn to the synchronicity among the many topics will find this an interesting, absorbing, stimulating, and provocative read. As such, the book is a refreshing reference for psychologically and philosophically anchored academics, enlightened political science students, and management and leadership scholars and practitioners.
David Heming
September 29, 2012.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having grown up in a conservative religious community, and then having left it as an adult, this book was a very interesting read, and for the most part rang true to my experience on both sides of the aisle. I cannot comment on the reliability of the research Haight has conducted, but I think he succeeds in his goal to help those on the political and religious right and left get a better understanding of each other.
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Format: Hardcover
Review courtesy of subtleillumination.com

This is a phenomenal book - one of the best I've ever read. Really makes you think about what you think and why you think it, and better yet why others who might disagree with you think the way they do. Probably not right on all counts, but worth reading simply to reflect on whether you agree or disagree with it.

Haidt argues that morality does not and cannot flow out of reason and rationality. Instead, he suggests we decide whether something is moral immediately, and then use our reason to justify why we think what we do. Not a good sign for political cooperation.

Can liberals and conservatives understand each other? Haidt examines the priorities of each over his six bases for morality (care, fairness, loyalty, authority, sanctity, liberty). Liberals, he finds, place weight on care and liberty, with little or no interest in loyalty, authority, or sanctity. Conservatives placed weight on all the bases, with relatively more than liberals on loyalty, authority, and sanctity, and equal amounts on fairness. Incidentally, liberals are also usually more sensation-seeking and open to new experiences, while conservatives react more strongly to signs of danger. As a result, liberals find it hard to reach out to or even understand conservatives, because they place no value on the moral bases of conservatives.
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Format: Hardcover
*A very very interesting read... Including the numerous notes! I loved this carefully written book. Enlightening. A gem.
*For a short summary/recapitulation of the book, "Click to LOOK INSIDE!" and find the four pages long conclusion.
*The main idea of the book is that "our minds were designed for groupish righteousness", and that's why there can be so much polarization in our societies.
*I now follow this talented psychologist on Twitter!!
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Format: Hardcover
As someone who views himself as a Conservative with a very pronounced Libertarian bias, I wanted to like Jonathan Haidt's "The Righteous Mind" when I first read it months ago. Haidt has written a very thoughtful, often insightful, look at moral philosophy and his effort in applying it to explain the philosophical differences between those who view themselves as Liberals and as Conservatives. If nothing else, Haidt has written one of the most fascinating books on the origins of morality and that, for this very reason alone, it deserves a broad readership. Indeed, some would say that he has offered a most compelling argument explaining how moral psychology accounts for politics, faith, and humanity's success in becoming the sole masters of Planet Earth. However, I think he emphasizes too much, the potential role that Group Selection may have in determining much of human behavior, by invoking it as the primary reason why humans tend to organize themselves into groups, and adhere to "group thinking" that reduces potential cooperation with those who are not members of the same group. (Coincidentally, Haidt's book has been published months after a controversial scientific paper in which its authors, most notably E. O. Wilson, the founder of sociobiology, have suggested that much of the decades-long research in Kin Selection - which is Natural Selection as seen via the perspective of individuals and their closely related relatives - is badly flawed, arguing instead for a renewed emphasis on Group Selection.Read more ›
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