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Posts tagged "The Righteous Mind"

Surviving November Pt 4: Partisan Narratives, Universal Sympathies and Keith Richards' Choirmaster

Surviving November Pt 4: Partisan Narratives, Universal Sympathies and Keith Richards’ Choirmaster

Just in the nick of time, the final installment of our series on Jonathan Haidt’s wonderful The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. To read part one, go here. 

Living in a “swing battleground state” (VA), I’ve had the distinct privilege of witnessing the escalation of hostilities this fall. And escalated they have! From the ads on TV to the volunteers at the door, the signs on the street to the telemarketers on the phone, it’s been tough to find a hiding place. Apparently even Walking Dead viewers are on the fence this November (Arrow viewers,…

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Surviving November, Pt 3: Fact Checkers, Missing Ethics Books, and the Must/Can Distinction

Surviving November, Pt 3: Fact Checkers, Missing Ethics Books, and the Must/Can Distinction

Have you noticed the increase, this election, in talk about “fact-checkers”? I can’t seem to escape articles and tweets about post-debate/-speech tallies of “checked facts.” While no doubt we could use a little help wading through all campaign hyperbole and Wiki-what-have-you, it sometimes seems that we’ve forgotten the time-tested cliche that one man’s fact is another man’s fiction (and always has been). It may be a cynical sentiment but it is also one that strikes me as far less cynical than the apparently widely held conviction that one or both candidates is an unremorseful liar, foisting their contempt for raw…

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Surviving November Pt 2: (Inner) Lawyers, (Inner) Press Secretaries and Presidential Debates

Surviving November Pt 2: (Inner) Lawyers, (Inner) Press Secretaries and Presidential Debates

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking about Jonathan Haidt during the recent debates. When it comes to The Righteous Mind, they have been pretty much an Exhibit A situation. That is, for all the learning and sophistication and charisma up on that stage, when two ‘righteous minds’ are locked in what Haidt calls “combat mode,” autopilot takes over and you can almost write the script. Yet we all pretty much know that the script itself is not the point of these things–people respond much more to how things are said than what is said. “Do I like this…

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Surviving November, Pt 1: Political Divides, Intuitive Dogs, and Rational Tails

Surviving November, Pt 1: Political Divides, Intuitive Dogs, and Rational Tails

Maybe the non-stop and increasingly ludicrous “opposition ads” have started to make you dread turning on the TV. Maybe you can’t read your (predominantly pop culture-focused!) Twitterfeed without getting depressed about the dehumanizing level of partisanship being so casually embraced by otherwise thoughtful people. Maybe you find blind loyalty to (or hatred of) a particular institution fundamentally alienating. Maybe you’ve “hidden” that portion of your friends on Facebook whose political inclinations diverge from your own. Or maybe you’ve lost the ability to sympathize even a little bit with those on “the other side” and have caught yourself characterizing a school…

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How Do I Love Jonathan Haidt? Let Me Count the Ways...

How Do I Love Jonathan Haidt? Let Me Count the Ways…

1. The main premise of his new book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, is that the human mind is wired for “righteousness.” Need I say more?! He talks at length about “inner lawyers” and our primal drive to justify ourselves (and all the trouble it creates), which jives not only with experience but with the biblical account(s). In this light, Justification by Faith is (much) more than a quaint 16th century phrase; it speaks to the absolute core of human existence. At least as Jonathan Haidt describes it.

2. Haidt subordinates reason to emotion,…

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