The Righteous Mind Essay

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The Righteous Mind (Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)

“Jonathan Haidt is one of the founders of researchers in the moral psychology field. He is in the process of changing the way people perceive moral behavior and ethics. In recent times, he has managed to research and make his audience to understand the hyper-partisan and ideological aspects of the United States. In his book The Righteous Mind, he looks at some of the psychological reasons why the political aspect has divided the society right in the middle. He also addresses the compelling reasons why people do not get along politically. To help people understand his point, he asks the big question, “Why do smart people seeing the same world have such a different viewpoint on so many basic issues?” (Haidt, 5). In his assertions, he says people’s judgment is determined by emotions while reasoning comes in later in order to justify the thoughts people have.

He intimates that people’s intuition may feel like obvious truths which often make people do things thought to be good and also make the same people do things deemed as bad. Haidt analyses where individual’s most basic moral ideas emanate from, and why people tend to cling on doggedly to the version they think to be right especially when they get into arguments with those individuals whose beliefs differ from theirs. The idea is that people should accept that ethical and political positions differ radically from one group to another still hold its moral validity. Haidt presents the idea that most of the core elements attached to human morality seem grounded in an individual’s instinct, and not reasoning. In other words, people tend to react first, and then later rationalize their actions and reactions (Haidt, 36).

However, Jonathan Haidt refutes claims presented by both Piaget and Kohlberg. Both Piaget and Kohlberg brought out the thinking that other authorities and parents were impediments to the moral development of children. They asserted that if parents want their kids to acquire knowledge concerning the physical world, they should be let to play with water and cups rather than lecturing them about volume conservation. They continue to ascertain that if people want their kids to learn things concerning the social world, they should be let to play with other kids and learn how to resolve disputes rather than lecturing them concerning the Ten Commandments. In addition, they should not be forced to obey God, teachers or their parents. Doing that will only freeze those kids at the traditional level. Kohlberg hatched a six-phase progression in the reasoning of children about social aspects. The progress was found to match that of Piaget concerning the physical world. According to Kohlberg, young children made a judgment of wrong or right based on superficial characteristics, such as whether the kid was punished based on an action. They will conclude that is he or she was punished for a given action, then it means the action must have been wrong. Kohlberg called the first two stages the pre-conventional level of moral judgment. This is found to correspond to the Piagetian stage where kids make a judgment of the physical world based on superficial characteristics (Haidt, 133)….

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