Thursday, October 25, 2007

Jonathan Haidt: The new synthesis in moral psychology

I just returned from a lecture given by Jonathan Haidt. I was impressed by his elegance of speech, ease of delivery, and enthusiasm for the topic.

It was refreshing to hear his presentation in which he clearly stated that we are more likely to co-exist well if we include and try to decode the 'other.' For instance, in stead of marginalizing conservative opinions and beliefs, liberals need to be cognizant of them and try to understand them.

Here's the abstract to one of his recent articles.

Haidt, J. (2007). The new synthesis in moral psychology. Science, 316, 998-1002.

Abstract: People are both selfish and morally motivated. Morality is both universal and culturally variable.

Such apparent contradictions are dissolving as research from many disciplines converges on a few shared principles, including the importance of moral intuitions, the socially functional (rather than truth-seeking) nature of moral thinking, and the coevolution of moral minds with cultural practices and institutions that create diverse moral communities. I propose a fourth principle to guide future research: Morality is about more than harm and fairness. More research is needed on the collective and religious parts of the moral domain, such as loyalty, authority, and spiritual purity.

For more information, read up on his work at:
www.jonathanhaidt.com

3 comments:

Nicki said...

i have always been of the opinion that if people focused on their commonalities rather than their differences, they would all be better off and make good progress. guy's got it right, i think....

Anonymous said...

It's the proverbial, 'you attract more bees with honey rather vinegar.' Good post.

Bri said...

Right. I do think that an elightened reaction is an informed one. Building on common ground is indeed not too difficult a notion to masticate....