Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Authors@Google - Jonathan Haidt: The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion

The more I read of Haidt's work (and not listen to him talk about his work, wherein he sounds more open-minded and less partisan), the less I think he has anything of any value to offer. Whatever he professes, he is a conservative with a definite bias.

Haidt proposes,  in The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, that there are just six “moral foundations” - care, fairness, liberty, loyalty, authority, and sanctity, and their multivariate manifestations generate the spectrum of moral behaviors in which humans seem to engage. According to Haidt, liberals are good at care and fairness, but conservatives are good at liberty, loyalty, authority, and sanctity, and they aren't to bad at care at fairness either.

He marshals the evidence to support his claims, but it feels like cherry-picking only the data that support his bias. There are equally strong data arguing opposite perspectives. In essence, I don't trust him.

That's my bias.

Authors@Google - Jonathan Haidt

In his new book, "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion", Jonathan Haidt explores the origins of morality and its basis in politics and religion. In this talk, given during his visit to the Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA, Jonathan provides an introduction to the core themes of the book, particularly as they apply to the "hive-like" mode of operation of Google, Zappos, and many other successful organizations. He investigates the question of why some successful organizations operate like wolf packs, others like beehives. And he links several theories from the natural sciences, religion, and philosophy to try to explain how and why humans can be far more "groupish" than "selfish".

Jonathan Haidt is a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and a visiting professor of business ethics at New York University's Stern School of Business. He is the author of "The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom.
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