Blogging Heads TV: interview with Jonathan Haidt

SFFaudio Online Audio

Blogging Heads TVA friend of mine has been considering buying The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics And Religion (a new book by Jonathan Haidt). I told him it didn’t appear to exist as an audiobook – at least not yet.

He had said he wanted to read it because he thought it might offer a hope of explaining the behavior of the strange people around him, and how he might better understand it and them.

I guess he wasn’t satisfied with my own hypothesis:

“perhaps hypocrisy can only be seen by people with two brain cells to rub together”

And while there still doesn’t appear to be an audiobook available my friend wrote to me last night saying:

“no need to buy the book, this is better…

I’ll now admit, after hearing the author speak his book’s thesis, it does sound fairly interesting!


Here’s the official description of the book itself:

“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, and he explains why conservatives can navigate that map more skillfully than can liberals. 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.”

Posted by Jesse Willis

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