Current Reading

This blog is primarily for me to blog my responses to books that I'm reading. Sometimes I blog about other stuff too, though.

I'm currently re-reading Systems of Survival by Jane Jacobs.

Word cloud

Word cloud

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Haidt, final chapter

I haven't had a lot to say about Haidt's book because most of it hasn't touched on the themes that I want to explore in this blog.  I will just touch on two things from the last chapter:

1) Empirical work has shown that liberals have more misconceptions about conservatives than conservatives have about liberals.  This might sound suspicious, if you only think about the most fire-breathing conservative pundits that you have seen, but the world is mostly made up of normal people, not fire-breathing pundits.  He spends much of the book explaining the differences between the moral intuitions of the left and right, and shows that the left has a small set of eminently rational moral intuitions, while the right has basically the same intuitions but also supplements them with some notions that you either find defensible or don't find defensible.  Consequently, conservatives can (on average) liberals better than liberals can understand conservatives.

I am so, so, SOOOO tempted to extrapolate this to things that I observe in the faculty lounge, but I think that social class and a rather unusual set of professional experiences do more to explain the clueless attitudes of academics than their partisan biases.  That isn't to say that Haidt's findings on political psychology aren't relevant (I'm sure they are) but I doubt they're the only factor.

2) On page 336, Haidt makes a great comment about teaching: When he decided to start doing research on political psychology, he decided that the only way to learn the subject was to teach a class on it.  So true.  So, so true.

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