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My Question for Jonathan Haidt 
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Post My Question for Jonathan Haidt
I thought I'd email a question to Jonathan Haidt and see if he would respond. Here was my question:

Hello Mr. Haidt,

Sorry to see that you've left the state of Virginia, but hope you're happy with your move.

A few of us are discussing your first book on booktalk.org, and I've had a question I've wanted to ask you, having also read The Righteous Mind.
When you were doing your research in moral foundations, did you and your team ever consider something like rationality as a variety of moral emotion that might form one leg of another foundation? The word might not be the right one, but it comes up from all the discussion I've seen about religious belief. Frequently, the main objection to religion (almost always Christianity) is that the beliefs are irrational. The way this aversion is expressed seems to have a definite moral flavor; in fact the impression conveyed is that non-rationality is a sin. It doesn't have a pleasing effect on the moral taste buds.

Have enjoyed your work very much and seeing you at TED X MidAtlantic.

Sincerely,

Bill Daniels
Berryville, Virginia

He did respond, with the following:

hello Bill,
glad to hear that my work sparked these questions.
I do get questions about rationality every now and then. Each side thinks its views are based on reason, or reality.
its true that christians value faith, and atheists don't. but i don't think either of these qualify as a foundaiton. I'm attaching a paper which discusses, near the end, what it takes to be a foundation. There are many things that matter for moral judgment which are not foundations. Diversity, honor, theory of mind, rationality, fear...

best,
jon

Oh, well, it was worth a try. I haven't had a chance to read the article he attached. It was good of him to take the time to reply.



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ant
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Post Re: My Question for Jonathan Haidt
DWill wrote:
to Haidt:

. . . A few of us are discussing your first book on booktalk.org, and I've had a question I've wanted to ask you, having also read The Righteous Mind.
When you were doing your research in moral foundations, did you and your team ever consider something like rationality as a variety of moral emotion that might form one leg of another foundation? The word might not be the right one, but it comes up from all the discussion I've seen about religious belief. Frequently, the main objection to religion (almost always Christianity) is that the beliefs are irrational. . . .


Nice! Maybe I'll have a better understanding of your question once I read the last chapter. I've been putting it off to make sure I don't read it before everyone else.

As I'm sure I've mentioned, I've begun to think of religious belief as an orientation along the same lines as sexual orientation or political orientation. Indeed, it's Haidt who put me on this track with his TED talk. You will observe that liberals and conservatives are on either side of a seemingly unbridgeable gulf. One side cannot fathom how the other thinks. And, yet, Haidt says the two sides need each other. They are two sides of the same coin.

Perhaps the religion-vs-evidence dichotomy behaves much the same way.

Imagine that everybody's worldview is either faith-oriented or evidence oriented (or somewhere in the middle). Such an orientation would largely be determined at birth, so we're essentially wired one way or another. For me at least, this "theory" means a less polarized view of the other side. It's wrong to think of it as reason vs. faith. Like politics, we need both worldviews to succeed as a species.

The hardest part of the "theory" is to have to think of my own evidence-based orientation as a worldview or equal to a faith-based view. To me an evidence-based position does seem the only rational perspective. But those with a faith-based perspective sees their way as the only way.

Does that make sense? Does Haidt ever propose anything like this?


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Last edited by geo on Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:29 pm
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Post Re: My Question for Jonathan Haidt
I'm realizing we should probably select a new non-fiction book soon...



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Post Re: My Question for Jonathan Haidt
geo wrote:

The hardest part of the "theory" is to have to think of my own evidence-based orientation as a worldview or equal to a faith-based view. To me an evidence-based position does seem the only rational perspective. But those with a faith-based perspective sees their way as the only way.

Does that make sense? Does Haidt ever propose anything like this?


Geo, I think you might be referring to enlightenment. I believe a person can gain peace without any thought other than an internal experience. Of course, this is hard to explain to a scientific world. A major problem I have with the book is that it seems to reach the same conclusion that so many have before, including Aristotle, we need a balance.

However, I do like the analogy of one riding an elephant, despite it making me think of dualism.

Hope this helps. By the way, I've not contributed on the book discussions before. I'm getting my feet wet.



Thu May 22, 2014 8:17 pm
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