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Live Blogging The Righteous Mind

The Righteous Mind - By Jon HaidtI’m going to try something a bit different over the next week or so.  I’m going to read Jonathan Haidt’s new book about moral psychology, The Righteous Mind, and blog my thoughts as I read through the book.  Most people write short summaries and critiques of entire books, but I thought it might be interesting to write my thoughts and present them as I read through a new book.  I’ll try to combine as many thoughts as I can into single blog entries in order to avoid inundating people with new blog post notifications.  So without further ado, here are my thoughts on The Righteous Mind:

We start off the book with a quote from Baruch Spinoza from his Tractatus Politicus:

I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, not to hate them, but to understand them.

It’s pretty clear that one of the main themes of the book will be prizing understanding over judgment, something that I’ve become a big fan of recently.  In that regard it appears there might be some concurrence between this book and the last book I read, Sam Harris’ Free Will.  I know that Jon has a large measure of philosophical disagreement with the “New Atheists” so it will be interesting to see how this all pans out.

Introduction

We start off the introduction with a discussion about Rodney King and his rarely quoted response to the 1992 Los Angeles riots:

Please, we can get along here.  We all can get along.  I mean, we’re all stuck here for a while.  Let’s try to work it out.

Read the rest of this entry

The Superficial Social Network

Obama Inherited Mess

I saw this cute little meme on Facebook the other day. Every time I see something like this I’m reminded that we need to avoid superficial political affiliations. When we see logic like this we can be sure that the confirmation bias is hard at work. People have a gut reaction to the political message and either sneer or press the “Like” button. Luckily there were some intelligent comments under the picture. A few people were having a meaningful conversation about the nuances of fiscal policy, the influence of the executive branch on the economy, and the real causes of the economic recession.

So, I encourage you to have thoughtful, meaningful interactions on online social networks like Facebook and Google+. It can be difficult to elevate the conversation in a format like this, but it can be done!

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