The Righteous Mind: Why Good People, Particularly Intellectuals, Are Divided by Politics

An America’s Founding and Future Lecture

May 8, 2012
Haidt event poster

Jonathan HaidtProfessor of Psychology, University of Virginia; Visiting Professor of Business Ethics, NYU-Stern School of Business; Author of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom (Basic Books, 2006); and The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion (Pantheon, 2012)
Commentators: Christopher AchenRoger Williams Straus Professor of Social Sciences, Professor of Politics, Princeton University; and Russell NieliLecturer in Politics, Princeton University

Morality binds and blinds. That’s one of the three core principles of the “new synthesis” that has occurred recently in moral psychology. But if part of the very function of morality is to bind people into teams held together by shared sacred principles, then what happens when intellectuals congregate in departments, foundations, and think tanks with little or no moral diversity? In my talk I’ll address the ways that morality and tribalism interfere with the search for truth, and what we might do to overcome these problems.

Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist at the University of Virginia, and a Visiting Professor of Business Ethics at the NYU-Stern School of Business.  His new book is titled The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion (Pantheon, 2012), a New York Times Bestseller. Professor Haidt did post-doctoral research at the University of Chicago and in Orissa, India.  He was the Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching at the Princeton University Center for Human Values in 2006.  His research examines the intuitive foundations of morality, and how morality varies across cultures. In recent years he has examined the moral cultures of liberals, conservatives, and libertarians. He is also author of The Happiness Hypothesis (Basic Books, 2006).  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992.

Video:

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People, Particularly Intellectuals, Are Divided by Politics

Location:

Lewis Library 120