The Righteous Mind by Jonathon Haidt

Date: 7 December 2016

Jonathon Haidt is a social / moral psychologist who I didn't know much about before buying this book. I really decided to by this book because he was referenced a few times by Jordan Perterson, who I respect really highly.


  • This book is about why it’s so hard for us to get along.
  • People who devote their lives to studying something often come to believe that the object of their fascination is the key to understanding everything.
  • played by cooking, mothering, war … even salt. This is one of those books. I study moral psychology, and I’m going to make the case that morality is the extraordinary human capacity that made civilization possible.
  • By the end of the tour, I hope to have given you a new way to think about two of the most important, vexing, and divisive topics in human life: politics and religion.
  • The word righteous comes from the old Norse word rettviss and the old English word rihtwis, both of which mean “just, upright, virtuous.” 3 This meaning has been carried into the modern English words righteous and righteousness, although nowadays those words have strong religious connotations because they are usually used to translate the Hebrew word tzedek. Tzedek is a common word in the Hebrew Bible, often used to describe people who act in accordance with God’s wishes, but it is also an attribute of God and of God’s judgment of people (which is often harsh but always thought to be just).
  • The book is split in three parts:
  • Darwin’s ideas about group selection fell out of favor in the 1960s, but recent discoveries are putting his ideas back into play, and the implications are profound.
  • I’ll show that religion is (probably) an evolutionary adaptation for binding groups together and helping them to create communities with a shared morality. It is not a virus or a parasite, as some scientists (the “New Atheists”) have argued in recent years.
  • How do we aquire morality?
  • Is it Nuture, Nature or Rationalistic?
  • Piaget's Experiments - Half Full Glasses
  • Piaget’s insights were extended by Lawrence Kohlberg, who revolutionized the study of morality in the 1960s with two key innovations.
  • First, he developed a way to quantify Piaget’s observation that children’s moral reasoning changed over time.
  • Kohlberg found a six-stage progression in children’s reasoning about the social world, and this progression matched up well with the stages Piaget had found in children’s reasoning about the physical world.
  • Second, he used his research to build a scientific justification for a secular liberal moral order. Kohlberg’s most influential finding was that the most morally advanced kids (according to his scoring technique) were those who had frequent opportunities for role taking— for putting themselves into another person’s shoes and looking at a problem from that person’s perspective.
  • Piaget and Kohlberg both thought that parents and other authorities were obstacles to moral development.
  • -

    07dec16   admin