Examining Organizational Strategies for Meaning: The Righteous Mind Part One

I’d like to return for a moment again to the beginning of Haidt’s book and his central focus on how we might all get along better and more importantly, why we believe the way we do. Much of what I’ve written about here on the blog so far has been aimed on asking you about your own personal experience with Haidt’s ideas (and some about your experience as a reader). I’d like to continue there and ask even more specifically about your experience as a reader when it comes to the organizational strategy of the book.

Following, I’ll give you a sampling of how I see the organizational structure working in the book and ask you to think about, respond and engage to those ideas.

So, as a fairly critical reader myself (I hope), one of the strengths I see in his book is how he uses the philosophy of others to interweave concepts and effectively bring a multiplicity of ideas into conversation with one another. This idea of a “conversation” is one of the primary facets of strong inquiry, argument and reasoning. Let’s chart how he does this just for a moment in Part One. He begins with the question: “Where Does Morality Come From” and the first theorist he addresses (after setting up his context and mentioning a few canonical thinkers) is to introduce Piaget and his model of cognitive development. Piaget looked at what kids do innately in their development to chart what might be considered “nature” and what might be considered “nurture” in the learning process of humans. Without summarizing it all (you’ve read the book of course), what we take from Piaget here might be that moral development is in fact, innate (6-7). Hmmm…, really?

But then Haidt brings in Kohlberg, who as he mentions “extended” Piaget’s ideas, finding more nuance in the stages of our human development, asserting that some things happen naturally but then we reach a stage where we begin “manipulating rules and social conventions” (8). We begin to nurture our moral foundations and to test them. So perhaps it is both?  Not only did Kohlberg add to the conversation around moral development but also Haidt asserts that he provided a justification for a liberal morality, one where experience and “figuring it out for yourself” might be valued over authority and structured, rule-based learning.

And then he brings in Turiel who proved that in fact, children definitely do recognize social conventions as a part of morality, back to social authority again. For example, how do you behave if you’ve been told something is wrong? It might not even matter if it’s actually moral or not. This shows that authority figures have a lot to do with how we reason morally in fact, so do our peers and social groups. However, the biggest principle Turiel worked with was, no matter how arbitrary the rule, children still seem to recognize that doing harm to others is not a good way to go (12).

And then he brings in Fiske and Schweder…Oh boy. They showed us that morality is variant from culture to culture—what does “no harm” in one country might not be so in another. Even worse, the research was further limited by the fact that most of the studies that had been done by Piaget and others were with privileged, educated children in the Western world (12-16). Uh-oh.

It is at this point that Haidt offers his own voice into the conversation, showing us where he departs as a researcher into his own field of inquiry. He’s laid the foundation of ideas and now he can extend them by describing his own experience and where he takes the ideas of others and makes his own contribution to the field of knowledge. He sums it all up by saying “We’re born to be righteous, but we have to learn what, exactly, people like us should be righteous about” (31).

So, finally, what do you think of Haidt’s organizational strategy in this chapter? In the rest of the book? What about the metaphors? Do you agree with my summary? Did I miss any key points? Did you find him using his set of strategies consistently throughout the book and how do you feel about the conclusions he is drawing for us? Do you think he is missing something? Do you think he is making any false assumptions? Do you think he is successful? I can’t wait to get your own best “critical reads” on Haidt’s style and content!

74 thoughts on “Examining Organizational Strategies for Meaning: The Righteous Mind Part One

  1. As I read part one of this book, I agree with you that the author’s use of philosophy from others is strong. The philosophy from others keeps the author from sounding one-sided. Instead, this allows the book to feel more like an open debate, where there are no wrong answers. This in turn comforts and relaxes his readers. Now that his readers don’t need to worry about having their beliefs and opinions scrutinized, they are less defensive and more willing to hear about different beliefs and other’s opinions.

    • Rachelle Edouarzin says:

      I agree with what Julie Charest had to say about the organization of part one. She said that “The philosophy from others keeps the author from sounding one-sided”. I believe that this is very important when writing a book like this. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but reading a book that is only filled with the thoughts and opinions of one person can, as Julie said, make the reader feel like “their beliefs and opinions are scrutinized”. Haidt incorporates the thoughts of other philosophers and explains their reasoning before he explains why he either agrees or disagrees.

    • Malik Abderson says:

      I agree with you Julie. The way head presents the moral dilemmas, and also how he questions peoples reactions to them, is done so in an mostly impartial way. He can explain the reasoning on both sides equally and question them all the same. It makes him appear more open minded about the topics and unbiased. It allows the reader to question there choices without feeling like they are being attacked or that thy’re “in the wrong”.

  2. Rebecca Sousa says:

    Hello! When I began this book I respected Haidts objectivity in presenting the research and findings of others. This purposeful tactic corroborated with his belief that to away someone’s opinion to match with your own you must first speak to their intuition, letting the reader reach their own conclusions before putting forth his own. Haidt’s metaphor regarding the elephant and the rider was an excellent portrayal of his theory that our gut feelings guide the way we reason. The elephant represents those inner feelings or intuitions whereas the rider represent reason. Just as a rider serves and elephant , reason serves our intuition. Had Haidt chosen to begin the book with all of his beliefs and theories, our righteous minds wouldn’t have accepted them as easily .
    Furthermore, I thought your summary accurately portrayed why the prior studies didn’t satisfy Haidt, and why he went on to conduct his own studies in a manner more diverse than those before him .

  3. I really like how throughout this book, Haidt states his conclusions and opinions only after he has provided ample evidence of his findings. He also provides the research of other psychologists. For example, at the beginning of the book, in the section ‘The Great Debate,’ Haidt explains how Shweder’s research consists of Indians and Americans of equal social statuses. This ensures that the data he is collecting from each setting is comparable in the end. I like being able to see the proof of each study in order to believe the results. I also like how Haidt presents the information of other studies without any of his opinions. He allows the reader to process the information, understand the reasoning behind the opinion, then state his own opinion. This process allows the reader to take in a lot of information and create their own conclusion.

    • Rebecca Godfrey says:

      He’s doing that because if he doesn’t, your own opinion would become influenced by his. He is giving his readers a chance to come up with their own opinion while he gives them facts and evidence. So that no one is bias.

  4. Dane Granja says:

    Perhaps one of the most admirable qualities in Haidt’s writing is his ability to effectively polarize the reader from his or her intuitional gut rejections of “disgusting and disrespectful”, yet objectively sound, scenarios right off the bat. This allows for the genesis of a clearer thinking method to be cultivated early on, so that by the time the reader encounters a more substantially controversial topic (inside or outside of the book), it is prepared to address it algorithmically rather than instinctually. Haidt successfully shows his readers the curtain he will be attempting to draw back for the remainder of his piece within the first chapter, though is continuously elaborated on; morality comes from a subjective mind, and is thusly prone to a fair amount of subjectivity influenced both by social and individual interests alike. His praise of objectivity and understanding is highly refreshing in a society so very accustomed to lashing out. Thinking out loud, perhaps a more compelling topic to start with would have been “victimless crimes,” such as prostitution, and why they are illegal despite the lack of a clear victim. I only say this because it occurs more frequently (I assume) than a family devouring its deceased pet, and would therefore grab hold of the audience with relevant controversy rather than mere shock. Though, the chicken bit was certainly an attention grabber in its own right.

  5. Jill Sacramona says:

    I really like the fact that unlike many articles and books, Haidt is not bias. He brings in other people such as Kohlberg, Turiel, Fiske, and Schweder. As the reader you learn what research they did and the results of their tests. Haidt will explain everything from both sides and then after everything is in the open he will then go on to explain his opinion or a short story about his life, such as the one where he admits to being a chronic liar. He tells a story about his wife asking him not to put things where she makes their sons baby food and how Haidt told her he had been doing three different things all at the same time. He later found that even though he had done all three things he did not do them at the same time. He only said that so he would not get in trouble (61). I think when he adds that to his book it makes the text more relatable . Lastly the way the book is set up is easy to read. I think how he adds not only chapters but within the chapters labels the different sections to help the reader fully understand what he is talking about when is very helpful.

    • Pascal Alexis says:

      Jill, i agree with you 100%. The fact that he isn’t bias and shows views of other people makes the book really enjoyable. Also when he tells his story on being an chronic liar relates to me a little causing me to be even more interested in the book.

    • Alex says:

      I agree the layout of the novel allows for a more writer and enjoyable reading experience as well as rewarding. The author doesn’t throw a bunch of information at the reader instead he gives small pieces backed with evidence.

  6. Andrew DaCosta says:

    I liked that Haidt used others ideas to show that there are no real answers. It definitely gave me more to think about, and especially how I felt about them. It was really important when he gave personal experiences in his book, relating to the text is really helpful to make it more understanding and interesting! I really related to the example he gave about arguing with his wife when he didn’t put away dishes and gave a ton of excuses.

    • Adam Scopa says:

      I’d have to agree with you Andrew. The fact that he leaves all his thoughts and ideas open to interpretation makes it much more entertaining and fun to read. I like the fact that you can develop your own opinion about the situation, making the reader expand their mind in their own way, which can vary from reader to reader.

      • Alex says:

        I agree with your statement, the author does not force a opinion instead he lets the reader formulate their own. The author supplies information and makes arguments for both sides leaving the reader to develop their own opinion.

  7. Dan Ridge says:

    I really respect the way that Haidt has organized his chapters, especially part one. He introduces an idea, such as the idea of rationalism in chapter one and then he showes it’s merits through scientific research collected over the years. He then effectively and carefully argues against it by using his own personal scientific research as well as the research of others. He does this so delicately so as to not offend any of his readers who may whole heartedly beleive in rationalism . I must admit that when I first read about Piaget I was thoroughly convinced that rationalism was the key to morality. However, Haidt debunks this using his cross culture study as well as the other cross culture study between Orissa and the United States. He does this in a non combative way, so the readers who may initially agree with rationalism, now see Haidt’s point of view.

  8. Kassandra Santilli says:

    I liked the way that Haidt presents his information. He doesn’t write as though he is biased and he presents findings of his own and of others which gives us readers a sense of ease. He also explores different depths of research which in turn makes me think more deeply about his research. For example, in the very first chapter, as he talked about morality and views on morality, I began thinking about why and how something that was morally wrong by my standards could be morally correct by others standards- and how differing views of morality can seperate people.

    • Rebecca Godfrey says:

      I really like how Haidt writes, as well. He will try to clarify the point he is making by talking about it in different way. For example, he will make a statement then he will give a metaphor or just continue to explain it in depth. But, I completely understand what you mean when you say “explores different depths of research”. He is basically giving different perspectives to almost help you find your own perspective.

  9. George Baidoo says:

    I think that Haddit did a great job on the structure of the novel because as he said in the introduction on the book; there are three parts which can be thought of as three separate books except one depends on the one before it. So his addition of the philosophy of others was added so in order to either support or justify his later theories he concludes for example he stated since morality doesn’t come primarily from reasoning that leave some combination if innateness and social learning. This view of his when made into a dissertation fell on deaf ears since he didn’t fully agree with the philosophy of others he noted

  10. Jasmine Smith says:

    Hello! Hadit’s organization skills throughout the book greatly add to his credibility. In order to be persuasive one must provide a counter argument in addition to what they believe. This allows the reader to see other opinions, form their own, as well as see that Hadit’s points are based on reliable sources. By providing the reader with many opinions from credible sources Hadit shows that he is unbiased. By doing this the reader sees that there is not one cookie cutter answer, and that no matter what they believe as an individual they are not incorrect.

  11. Tyree Gorham says:

    In the first chapter, I like how Haidt brought up the nature vs. nurture debate. It’s a very interesting topic. I cannot choose between the two and think that they both play huge roles in a persons way of thinking. Haidt brought up Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg. Learning about both of them and their ideas somewhat broadened my thoughts on morals and what goes on in children’s mind and how they can’t grasp certain things yet because their mind isn’t ready yet.

    • Pascal Alexis says:

      Hey Tyree! I also enjoyed how Haidt brought up the debate between nature and nurture. As i read more in the chapter my thoughts completely changed as of being broadened on morals.

  12. Quinn Harris says:

    In The Righteous Mind I loved Haidt’s strategies towards the way he presented his book. Haidt makes you see his point of view by challenging other’s views without completely saying they’re wrong. He also allows you to not only stay on the side of your beliefs but to challenge them as well. This book even helped me understand why I believe in what I believe. Above all else my favorite aspect of the book was his metaphors. These metaphors (to me) were a fun way to explain how and why people act the way they do in relation to morals and religious beliefs. Overall Haidts strategic way of writing was excellent and was among nothing I have ever read before.

  13. Ishmell Sharpe says:

    I love how in the first chapter Haidt has a Nativist and Empiricists point of view to answer where morality comes from. He doesn’t come off as bias which help me understand the perspective from both sides.

    • Deanna says:

      Exactly . I like Haidt’s writing style . He presents a concept , shows how other philosophers prove or disprove this claim, and then gives his input . I agree he doesn’t come off bias and it does help to take all sides into perspective.

  14. This book has a challenging way of putting out the way society view things. It talks about what things we find morally wrong, not because we really think they are but because for the rest of the people surrounding us this actions shouldn’t be allowed or committed by anyone. As someone that already challenges people believe on religion and politics, this book is very appealing because of the way Shweder compare and contrast his theory with other. As of for now I’m amaze by his words.

  15. Christy Robertson says:

    It’s easy to agree with what Haidt says throughout part one and the rest of the book because he doesn’t just tell us his opinions about morals or his opinions about conservatives and liberals. He takes examples from other philosophers and makes the readers really think and interpret every side of the ideas presented. He allows the reader to make their own opinion about which idea they believe is right and which ones they believe are wrong. His resources makes the book easier to read and more enjoyable because it really opens your eyes to the different way people think about certain ideas relating to morals and politics

    • I totally agree with you, as soon as I started reading I felt that I was able to choose witch way too look at things, instead of having the writer convince me of his own points of view. Haidt rather make me acknowledge that there’s a different way of looking at morals and believe, he challenge me as a reader to think out of the box in a way that does not make me necessarily agree or disagree with him. For me that I’m an English learner this book is not as difficult as I imagine it to be, I believe this is because of his writer moves and simplicity on many parts of the book.

  16. Patrick says:

    I like how in the first chapter of Intuitions Come First, Strategic Reason Second Haidt talks about a family that eats its dog that just died. He ask if it’s morally wrong that the family ate their dead dog instead burying it and I think it is ok because they are not harming anyone in the process.

    • Ashlee Wright says:

      I agree. If you bury the dog then it will eventually be eaten by decomposers and other organisms anyways so why not just eat it yourself

      • But doing that sort of “dishonor’s” the dogs body. It would be similar to eating a dead relative, would it not? It maybe because of my views of religion and how I was brought up, but I view a dog as a member of the family. People ask if I have a sister, I’d say ‘yup, she has four legs and a tail!’

  17. Alexander Cabido says:

    Jonathan Haidt, in my opinion, does a remarkable job structuring his thoughts in a way that flows easily and shows the reader both sides of a topic by providing an argument and then a counter argument thus eliminating a one sided view and bringing everything together neatly. By using philosophers from the past and the present he is able to effectively show us how psychology has grown and provide a basis for his own ideas. He uses them as building blocks in order to get our knowledge and understanding to a certain degree where we understand his ideas and thoughts he brings to us later on the his book. The first two parts of the book are his way of wetting our appetites so that when they main meal comes we are all the more ready to devour the knowledge that he has building to from previous chapters.

    • Alex says:

      I agree with your statement, the author does not force a opinion instead he lets the reader formulate their own. The layout of the book also helps the reader comprehend what they’re reading.

  18. Hi, my name is Irakli Patsuria and reading first few chapters about Jean Piaget and Developmental psychology reminded me my first psychology class. Piaget came up with four stages of development: Sensorimotor Stage, Preoperational Stage, Concrete Operational Stage and finally Formal Operational Stage.
    In Sensorimotor Stage babies “take in” the world though their senses and interactions. During this stage babies do not have object permanence-the realization that things continue to exist even when they can’t be seen. The object permanence tends to show up around 8 months of age. Also during this stage babies start developing some logic skills.
    The Preoperational Stage takes place from age two to six. During this stage, according to Piaget children are too young to do mental operations and they do not have grasp on conservation. (Conservation is the idea that something can retain or conserve a characteristic while something else changes. For example, a liquid can retain its quantity or volume but change its shape). Piaget argued that children during this stage are egocentric – they view the world through their own viewpoints and are unable to view a situation from another person’s point-of-view. Interestingly during this stage children develop what’s called theory of mind. This allows them to read another person’s intentions.
    The Concrete Operational Stage. This stage takes place from age six to about twelve. Children in this stage can think with concrete, physical objects and understand conservation. During this stage children will use fingers when counting or when involved in higher math.
    Finally the formal operational Stage begins at about age of twelve. Children in this stage can use symbols and variables in their thinking. They also can figure out if-then statements. This indicates systematic or logical rezoning abilities.
    I admire Piagets work and I thought it was really interesting reading about him in The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, by Jonathan Haidt. I thought I would not hurt adding more information about early human development and Pigeat.

    • Veronica Fernandes says:

      Haidt uses Piaget’s cognitive development model also know as Nature vs. Nurture to help explain where dose morality come from in the first chapter of the book. In the end nature wins over nurture which is demonstrated by Piaget’s model. I would like to point out something interesting I found later on in the last chapter of the book when Haidt uses a political take on Piaget’s model to explain why we are either democratic or republican. He states that people tend to have the same political views as their parents, so is it cause buy nature or nurture? To come to find out nature wins again because our main contributor to the out come of our political view are our genes past down buy our parents.

  19. bruna says:

    In part one of the book Haidt starts of by showing readers society view of things.He leaves it up to the reader to decide what’s morally wrong and morally right. And somehow society has somthing to do with ow we view things.

    • Adam Scopa says:

      Society has an influence on how people view certain issues because most people are looking to fit in with the crowd, when in reality, fitting in with the crowd is not all that great. That’s why he left it up to the reader to decide what is morally right and what is morally wrong so he could avoid a one-sided story, in my opinion.

    • Lucas Walters says:

      The way society makes one person think can also be an unexceptable way to think in another like when he was throwing the examples of different religions at us and how one thought there was no problem with a scenerio and the other found it to be morally wrong.

  20. Vanessa Soares says:

    Haidt’s organizational strategy throughout the book was very interesting and easy to follow. I particularly enjoyed the sections where he provided information and insight regarding his research tactics and experiments. I also loved how Haidt would include scientific facts while explaining certain topics. One of my favorite sections is the chapter where Haidt explains the thoughts and beliefs of Liberals versus Conservatives. I didn’t realize that the differences between these political parties could be expressed through brain activity as they react differently when exposed to specific words or phrases. I also found the sections involving moral values and how they differ between countries to be very intriguing. Haidt’s strategy of explaining the basic concepts at the end of each chapter was extremely helpful when trying to understand his main points.

  21. Edward Collins says:

    I personally like the fact that Haidt uses the Socratic method throughout the book. He looks at each question he presents from an objective stand point and then formulates his own opinion. By him asking these questions, it allows the reader to look at the evidence and then choose to run with the idea or leave it. I like that he also gives his opinion because it gives readers another perspective. There have been many times in my life where I have had my own convictions and then someone sheds a new light on what I believe, thus making me reconsider maybe even changing my beliefs. Life is all about perspective. It is how you look at something, that can make or break you in the end. I believe that the author is helping to facilitate this idea perspective by asking to reader to not judge a book by its cover, but to look at the question, problem, etc. at hand and then making an educated decision.

  22. Taciana Morisseau says:

    I like it when Haidt start to talk about how children would begin to think or assume something is wrong when it involves harm. His strategy is very interesting that he explains thing in a new meaning that I would never thought of. Also since morality comes from either nature or nurture it made sense to me that I realized that I’m an empiricist. I can remember memories of me being little and I would learn what was right from wrong from experience.

  23. Kayla Houle says:

    Working with children throughout the past couple years the most interesting idea that Haidt brought up was when he starts to talk about the idea that children know what is morally wrong or right based on the idea of being harmed. He used an example that if a student went to a school where they had to all wear uniforms and the student decided to wear his own clothes to school and the teacher said it was okay, is that wrong? The children answered no because it was not hurting anyone but when the children are asked about pushing another student off the swing even if the teacher says its okay, the children answered that it was wrong because it was harming another child.

  24. Tavia Harrington says:

    I agree with Kayla Houle! Children see things differently than us adults do, and most times it’s for the better. The way Haidt explains a child’s mind is creative and different. Most people believe children don’t know much because they haven’t been here as long as anyone else. Haidt proves this statement wrong and helps others see harm and children in a new way. People see things different and form different opinions, which makes up perspective. Unlike most books that make you see one character’s opinion, this helps you develop opinions in a whole new way.

  25. Siobhan Wood says:

    I found that the way Haidt explained his research was very interesting and it left me pausing to think multiple times as I read. He explains that society shapes our way of seeing whats right and wrong with examples and questions about morality. I found myself giving the unclear answers that others said when they couldn’t find a reason why something was wrong, it just was. The taboo subjects in Haidt’s questions made me feel like what the metaphorical people were doing was wrong, but no matter how I thought about it, what they were doing wasn’t wrong at all. In part one, I found myself agreeing with Haidt’s conclusions, and thinking about his studies long after i put the book down.

  26. In the process of reading this book I have become more open-minded with my views of society and morality. Morality is different for each person and changes throughout the world because of each every-changing society. The examples in the beginning of the book about the family eating their dog that had been run over, and the man who has sex with the chicken and then cooks and eats it, made me think about the fact that yes, i believe this is morally wrong, but in other regions it may not be considered wrong. Technically neither party did anything wrong, but to certain people it could be viewed as otherwise; for what reason we believe these parties did something unacceptable, I am unsure, but it is believed that they did something wrong. Because of how I was raised, like so many other people, I am sure, we are just made to believe that something like these scenarios are unacceptable. The whole concept made me think about how everyone’s views will be different because of our own versions of morality and what is socially acceptable.

    • Deanna Gordon says:

      Where do you believe morality comes from ? Like how do we form what we think is moral or not ? And are you saying that we form our morals based off of how we are ‘brought up’ ?

  27. Antonia Thomas says:

    I loved that he used many different scenarios to help the reader understand more. For example, when he was explaining taboo’s. Haidt also showed both sides of arguements and was not bias. Haidt definately got me thinking about things I have never realized. Especially, when he talked about the human body creation and the reasoning behind it in the beginning. He explains everything with great philosophers to back his statements up. Overall I think the book was written strongly and organized.

    • While I do think that Haidt was good at showing both side, I do think that it got to the point where I was struggling to figure out what he wanted to say. Is it that that the elephant is in charge or does the rider have more control over the elephant than we think.

  28. In the first part of the book I love how the author talked about nurture vs nature. Though I was sure I would stick to one side throughout the explanation, his examples made me realize that there are different ways to explain the morality of children.

  29. Morgan Casey says:

    Hello, I think that Haidt has a good organization of this book in part one. The book explains the research he put into his theories very well and I font think that it is one sided I think that both sides are shown and research are backing up each side. The examples of all the questions and answers during the research were interesting to understand the meaning of part one in the book. I think to completely understand the mean of the righteous mind you have to understand your own mind and your own beliefs, and not to judge people on what they believe because morality differ from each culture.

  30. Gordon says:

    I love the idea that the mind is like” a rider on an elephant” I think it’s a very interesting way to view thought processes. It really helped me going forth when I’m trying to explain my opinions. I have to talk the elephant not the rider . it total makes sense . Otherwise like Haidt said you wont get anywhere and it will just make both parties more ” defensive ” and stick to one’s point of view without hearing out the other’s.

  31. Jennifer says:

    Jonathan Haidt a social psychologist engage the audience or the readers of how he see the world in another different dimension and how we can understand the world by culture, religion and politics the god and the bad. His ideas makes you think… His chart, illustration, some description. Also how he start about the developing of children through morality with psychologist who study child development one was Piaget, kohlberg and others… and how he use their knowledge study of child growing up into environmental.

  32. Alicia Anziano says:

    I really respected the way that Haidt organized the first few chapters of the book. I felt like Haidt’s way of introducing the thoughts of other philosophers allowed the reader to form their own opinions before they had to read about Haidt’s thoughts. When I finally read about what he had to say about morality I could believe his opinions because he seemed very credible. Another thing that I enjoyed about his writing style was his way of clarifying things. Every time that I felt lost while I was reading something he would either use metaphors or his own life experiences to clarify.

  33. deanas12 says:

    In part one, chapter three “Elephants Rule” Haidt describes the six major research findings based on intuitions coming first, in the second reason where he mentions the Implicit Association Test and how at ProjectImplicit.org we can test ourselves, I thought that it was incredible. You truly do feel yourself moving and clicking the keys slower. One test concluded that I have a moderate automatic identification with Past compared to Future. Did anyone else take the time to do this test? If so, what do you think your results mean? I think the results mean that I have a stronger link to my past than my future possibly because the past is a definite thing. No one can change your past like no one can change you. ( Seriously, it is a cool test to take.)

    Also, I found it amazing that in reason four psychopaths can actually inherit a genetic trait that affects which way the elephant leans or does not lean for that matter. My question would be if you think that psychopaths have the ability to change the way they think. For instance, do you believe Ted Bundy could have been helped with therapy? Haidt says ” Most are not violent, but the ones who are commit nearly half of the most serious crimes, such as serial murder, serial rape, and the killing of police officers”. If this is the case, what deciphers what path a psychopath will go down? In regards to the violent ones, how does the justice system determine the right punishment for them? Of course, they must pay for what they did, but how can you punish someone that couldn’t help how they thought or viewed the world?

  34. In reading the first chapter, I felt like I had choices; I was able to see more sides to the topic instead of just Haidt’s thoughts. I liked how he brings in the thinking processes of other psychologists’ to show that there can be more than one answer to a question, yet each answer has the same meaning just explained differently, which is helpful since everyone has a different thinking processs. Also how Hadit arranged in introducing each psychologists, almost felt like as if the next person was filling in the holes to what the person before was missing.

  35. Sean J. Fleming says:

    Haidt would compare and contrast psychologists and their experiments and interviews between different people around the world and how the west is different that the east in many different ways. These differences are in moral respects and in emotional respects as well. The main idea to take from the beginning of the book is to get an idea of what Haidt is trying to tell us. He is telling us that the west and the east parts of the world are very different from each other.

  36. Betsaida says:

    There might be more books out there but this is my first time Reading a book that say things straight. Really interesting the way Jonathan Haidt chose to write the book. The fact that he gives quantity evidences to prove what he is saying, says it all. The other day at my work my manager couldn’t resist to ask me what was the book about because he was seeing that every time I had a chance I picked up the book and start reading. I sorta summarized it for him and even told him some of the experimental stories Haidt uses. After an intensive conversation he told me I was going to get confused and I told him that, that’s one of the main point Haidt talks about in the book, that some people don’t like to challenge our beliefs because we don’t like to get confused. He was left with nothing but to admit he is one of those type of people. The point is that books like this one open your mind well if you are open-mind person. I really like it because I’m the type of person that enjoys seeing others perspectives.

  37. Betsaida says:

    The way I see this book is that is a great guide and adviser for us college students that will be entering a new community with a lot of diversity. Meaning that not everyone will have the same views, ideas, opinions, etc and in order for the community to work we need to be able to collaborate and work together. We need to learn how to respect everyone’s right and not criticize someone’s act merely because we find it disgusting or because we think is wrong, when is not. Haidt argues a lot that people will always find argumentative reasons to be always right even when they’re not and that’s something that people in a community need to keep a side and become good listeners and open-minded.

  38. Jessica Thibault says:

    In reading part 1 of this book, I appreciate Haidt’s consideration for the inner workings of the reader’s mind. He expresses his views and opinions without shoving it down the reader’s throat for lack of a better statement. I really felt like I had an opportunity to take in his theories and process them in my own way, so as to not completely share his own idealism. I thought at first his organizational system, with so many different psychologists/theorists, was a little confusing; but I realized after fully reading the section that Haidt’s sole purpose for this was to expose us to multiple ideas as a guide to formulate our own.

  39. I highly enjoyed reading this section of the text. I feel as though Haidt has a great way of expressing and organizing such simple, everyday thoughts and actions to help us better understand ourselves through multiple philosopher’s point of views. Reading this section of the book makes you really step back and look at yourself. The part where Piaget and his theory is introduced is a section that really stuck with me. Whether human development is based more around “nature” or “nuture” is a mystery. I believe that we as humans do develop based around our envirnoment, however, I believe there is a unique nature in all of us that decides on what we do with that information. Reading this section was as though you were reading a manual that allows you to trace back your steps and wonder what parts of you are truly you, and what parts of you have been learned. By introducing different biases from different philosophers within the reading it really brought some credibility and suppoprt to Haidt’s own words.

  40. Ryan Kennedy says:

    I just had a quick question: As a kid going through school I was always taught to go with your first answer on tests, your instinctive thought. One of the central metaphors, the elephant and the rider, tells you to question your initial thought. Does that not apply to test taking? Is the metaphor used to describe life situations instead?

    • thi says:

      I believe the metaphor can be applied for all situations. Whether it is on the streets or in school. Maybe your first instinct on the test is not the right conclusion but your second choice is. It is all personal opinion but i believe that it can be used for test taking.

  41. There’s some questions I wondered while I was reading the first chapters of the book The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt, questions like What give us the right to judge others for what we consider is a “bad behavior”? Are we really helping the society with this judgements? Are they really doing a bad action? Why does people consider “bad” what is different? What make us different from the other cultures in this topic?.

    Hello, my name is Nicole Hernandez and I’ll be a business undeclared student this fall. I’m not even a psychology major but this book really makes you wonder your own habits and judgements I mean, some of the situation the planted didn’t hurt anyone but we considered them as bad behavior or that those persons should be punish, for what? for be or do something different? And when they asked them Why is this wrong? They came up with subjectives answer like because it’s wrong or because that’s not okay, it’s not normal for a person to do that, but they never gave a concrete reason for why that was wrong and even I wondered the same question, Why is this wrong if it didn’t hurt anyone?. This result comes from the respond society has developed the last years, expecting people to think the same way and rejecting what seems to be different.

    Another highlight of this book is the fact that we need our emotions and reasoning to come up with good answers for this questions. Emotions play a big part in this topic, we need them to feel others pain and how some actions affect them as humans, that’s the answer, emotions make us HUMANS and vulnerable to many thing in life. This book actually makes you open your eyes and make you think like an individual, different from others, follow your instincts.

    • Alexis says:

      If you were to do something that was “normal” to you but “bad” to others, they would judge you and want you to automatically think like them. People nowadays don’t like anything that is “different” from themselves. They like seeing someone who thinks the same way that they do. They assume “different” is “bad” because they haven’t been exposed to that and it’s a foreign c

    • Alexis says:

      If you were to do something that was “normal” to you but “bad” to others, they would judge you for your behavior because they want you to think like them. People nowadays don’t like anything that is “different” from themselves. They like seeing someone who thinks the same way that they do. They assume “different” is “bad” because they haven’t been exposed to that and it’s a foreign concept that they haven’t been able to process yet. I don’t think this benefits society at all, if anything this will probably cause more problems if people stay are not able to broaden their horizons and see things as others see them before passing a judgement.

  42. Cody Moniz says:

    Personally, while I did find Haidt’s overall message interesting, I can’t help but notice how some parts of the book lacked universality. The entire first metaphor states that intuition is in control of reason and logic. As somebody who has loved science since childhood, the idea of anything coming before reason is ridiculous to me. Haidt’s first argument assumes that all people are psychologically the same, and the Humean model he supports doesn’t account for people who are “thinkers” more than they are “feelers” in terms of personality.

  43. Abiodun says:

    I believe that this book relates to certain events that have happened in our modern era. Differences between cultures and religions can complicate the progress of one society. Many people are born into different lifestyles and family structures which in fact develops their dogmatic views towards various issues.

  44. Abiodun says:

    I like how realistic this book is about social issues. Religion in my opinion has an ample amount of effect on the lifestyles of many people. Groups of people are prone to have their differences between each other due to the fact that their upbringing and lifestyle dictated what they are supposed to believe.

  45. Joshua Valliere says:

    The way that Haidt laid out this book is some what genius in my mind because he knows how to capture your attention from the beginning. The idea of giving you a metaphor in the beginning and having you think about it as he gives real ideas and theories is brilliant! By doing this he has your mind thinking of what is coming ahead and how this metaphor can be tied in with what is being discussed in the chapter. For example the first metaphor that was given was the elephant and the rider, which when I first read it thought I knew what it meant, I was wrong. That is the great thing about how he structures his chapters because I had an idea, though it was wrong, I was still thinking about the topic at hand. By the end of the chapter I understood fully what the metaphor meant and I was excited that I was engaged in the book more than I thought I was going to be.

  46. Victoria Gullotti says:

    The organization of this book is very easy to keep up with and follow most of the time! This book relates a lot to the social problems that we have now a day in this world. In the first chapter of the book he asks if it is morally wrong for a family to eat a dog after it has died. It isn’t hurting anyone in the process. I feel how in this day and age their is always two sides to everything. You can never know if something is truly wrong if that is not what you believe in.

  47. Quianna Walker says:

    Haidts strategy of introducing the other philospohers ideas on moral reasoning before stating his pionts was a good because this showed unbiased on his part. The best metaphor in the novel would have to be the elephant and rider because it makes the most sense to me.

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