Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt

Possible topic questions for the March 10th meeting of the philosophy club

Earl helped me narrow these down to 9.  The ones we picked are in red.

Is it better to be good or have a reputation for being good?
page 73 loc 1432
Page 190 -loc 3324

Page 73--loc 1438---- "James [believed that] if you want to understand any mental mechanism or process, you have to know its function within some larger system

"It appears that the left relies primarily on the Care and Fairness foundations, whereas the right uses all five. ... If this is true ... does that give conservative politicians a broader variety of ways to connect with voters?"

Loc 65 of 7971 " ... morality is the extraordinary human capacity that made civilization possible"
Page 75---loc 1448---Human beings are the world champions of cooperation beyond kinship, and we do it in large part by creating systems of formal and informal accountability.

Loc 85-- " I yearn for a world in which competing ideologies are kept in balance, systems of accountability keep us all from getting away with too much, and fewer people believe that righteous ends justify violent means."

Loc 97 "...don't take people's moral arguments at face value. They're mostly post hoc constructions made up on the fly, crafted to advance one or more strategic objectives."
Page 25-loc 575- ...but it was not reasoning in search of truth; it was reasoning in support of emotional reactions
Page 45--loc 948--the rider acts as the spokesman for the elephant, even though it doesn't necessarily know what the elephant is really thinking
Page 46--loc 958--Reason is the servant of the intuitions

Loc 128- ...religion is (probably) an evolutionary adaptation for binding groups together and helping them to create communities with a shared morality."

Page 14 of 313--loc 388 The sociocentric answer dominated most of the ancient world, but the individualistic answer became a powerful rival during the Enlightenment ... the western world reacted with horror to the evils perpetrated by the ultra sociocentric fascist and communist empires

Page 31-loc 677--Radical reformers usually want to believe that human nature is a blank slate on which any utopian vision can be sketched.
Page 278--loc 4886-- Innate does not mean unmalleable, it means organized in advance of experience

Page 47--loc 968--Yet friends can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves; they can challenge us ...sometimes trigger new intuitions
Page 67-loc 1330--When does the elephant listen to reason? The main way that we change our minds on moral issues is by interacting with other people.
Page 70-loc 1375-Intuitions can be shaped by reasoning, especially when reasons are embedded in a friendly conversation or an emotionally compelling novel or movie or news story.
Page 90--loc 1751--- ...put individuals together in the right way...

Page 59-loc 1168 ...human minds are constantly reacting intuitively to everything they perceive,and basing their responses to those reactions
Page 44--loc 926--- Emotions occur in steps, the first of which is to appraise something that just happened based on whether it advanced or hindered your goals

Page 76---loc 1486---Our moral thinking is much more like a politician searching for votes than a scientist searching for the truth.

Page 85--loc 1641The difference between a mind asking "Must I believe it?" versus "Can I believe it?" is so profound that even influences visual perception.
Page 86--loc 1663- ....what's in it for my team
Page 86--loc 1710---extreme partisanship may be literally addictive

Page 90--loc 1756--Nobody is ever going to invent an ethics class that makes people behave ethically after they step out of the classroom. Classes are for riders, and riders are just going to use their new knowledge to serve their elephants more effectively

Loc 1822 (page 96) "It has long been reported that Westerners have a more independent and autonomous concept of the self than do East Asians. For example, when asked to write 20 statements beginning with the words "I am .." Americans are likely to list their own internal psychological characteristics whereas East Asians are more likely to list their roles and relationships "
Page 241--loc 4240--- Fascism is hive psychology scaled to grotesque heights. It's the doctrine of the nation as a super organism, within which the individual loses all importance.

Page 100---loc 1891---Many societies therefore develop moral concepts such as sanctity and sin, purity and pollution, elevation and degradation.
Page 100--loc 1899..ethic of autonomy...ethic of community
Page 150--loc 2700---[more on sanctity and purity] .... [do you] view the body as a temple rather than as a machine to be optimized or as a playground to be used for fun
Page 152---loc 2732---Kass argued that our feelings of disgust can sometimes provide us with a valuable warning that we are going too far .... Shallow are the souls that have forgotten how to shudder

Page 119---loc 2217---Do you prefer Kant's categorical imperative over Bentham's utilitarian arithmetic to help you decide on right action?
Page 271 --loc 4770--The field of normative ethics is concerned with figuring out which actions are truly right or wrong.

Page 136--loc 2467----Trivers proposed that we evolved a set of moral emotions that make us play tit for tat.

Page 153--loc 2741---defined innateness as organized in advance of experience [does he make too big of a jump in stating how the various moral foundations evolved?]

page 154--loc 2761--It appears that the left relies primarily on the Care and Fairness foundations, whereas the right uses all five...And if that is true, does that give conservative politicians a broader variety of ways to connect with voters?

Page 175---loc 3121-- Liberals sometimes go beyond equality of rights to pursue equality of outcomes ... Conservatives,in contrast, are more parochial---concerned about their groups rather than all of humanity.

Page 179--loc 3190---Punishing bad behavior promotes virtue and benefits the group
Page 180--loc 3213 ...people's strong desires to protect their communities from cheaters, slackers and free riders

Page 233-loc 4082---Homo duplex
Page 240--loc 4214---pitting individuals against each other in competition or scarce resources will destroy hivishness, trust and morale.

Page 243-loc 4277- Creating a nation of multiple competing groups and parties was, in fact, seen by America's founding fathers as a way of preventing tyranny. [in the notes Haidt quotes James Madison]--

Page 244- loc 4290-- We evolved to live in groups.

Page 248---4349---Morality binds and blinds. Many scientists misunderstand religion because they ignore this principle ...They focus on individuals and their supernatural beliefs, rather than on groups and their binding practices.
Page 250---loc 4393--Believing, doing, and belonging are three complementary yet distinct aspects of religiosity...

Page 268--loc 4720---Religion is therefore often an accessory to atrocity, rather than the driving force of the atrocity.

Page 270--loc 4752-- [What do you think of Haidt's definition of morality?] Moral systems are interlocking sets of values, virtues, norms, practices, identities, institutions, technologies,and evolved psychological mechanisms that work together to suppress or regulate self interest and make cooperate societies possible. .... First, this is a functionalist definition. I define morality by what it does cannot stand alone as a normative definition

Page 276--loc 4837---failure to agree on a routine bill to raise the debt ceiling ...led a bond rating agency to downgrade America's credit rating. That downgrade sent stock markets plummeting...

Page 277-loc 4865-- self-interest does a remarkably poor job of predicting political attitudes

Page 281--loc 4947 The human mind is a story processor...
Page 283--loc 4977--His own life narrative just fit...

Page 290--loc 5094-- reasoning is ... prone to overconfidence

Page 294- [he talks about moral capital then.....] John Stuart Mill said that liberals and conservatives are like this: "a party of order or stability, and a party of progress or reform, are both necessary elemants of a healthy state of political life
Page 295--loc 5194--I want to show that public policy might really be improved by drawing on insights from all sides

Page 298--loc 5242--I am not anticorporate, I am simply a Glauconian. ...operate in full view...with a free press... they are likely to behave
Page 298--loc 5251--efficient markets require government regulation

Page 310---loc 5454---[he explains why politicians need to compromise]
Page 311---[he explains why congress needs to stay in session for weeks at a time NOT just the middle three days of the work week. .... And he asks if primaries should be open rather than restricted to party affiliation ]
Page 313---Our politics will become more civil when we find ways to change the procedures for electing politicians and the institutions and environments within which they interact.

Page 313--loc 5528-- Intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second.
...importance of reputation ...

Loc 5576--This makes it difficult --but not impossible --to connect with those who live in other matrices ...
Loc 5581---Don't bring up morality until you've found a few points of commonality or in some other way established a bit of trust.

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