Sunday, March 18, 2012

Jon Haidt with Bill Moyers

This is an outstanding program & conversation. I read Haidt's The Happiness Hypothesis a few years ago and found it very persuasive. Now with his new book, The Righteous Mind, I think that I'm going to find him an even more important thinker. Moyers, as usual, does an outstanding job of engaging his guest in elucidating the guest's viewpoint. And this case, it's especially important and useful because Haidt argues that political conservatives in the U.S. understand more about moral psychology than do liberals. Overall, elections since the 1980's have born this out. Haidt adds a great deal of social science sophistication to understanding what's going on (and wrong) in our world today.

Moyers & Haidt touch on a number of topics: moral areas of concern (Haidt identifies five), reason & argumentation (Haidt seems to argue for the Sperber-Mercier view), sacralization of issues, and various other topics. There's a transcript @ the site, although I chose to listen, as Moyers usually carries on an enlightening conversation, and it's refreshing to experience it done well.

Michael Dowd about New Books on Evolution

This entry, courtesy of Jonathan Haidt (whose new book I'm eager to read) cites to an author that I haven't read, but he sounds interesting. Also, his discussion of the three books by Haidt, Wilson (E.O.) and another, piques my interest in them. Why? In short, the theory of evolution, much more than, say, the theory of relativity, provides a crucial understanding of our world. Einstein's theory is at the fringes of our reality; evolution goes to the heart of it. That is, as "big history" writers suggest, it applies not just to biology, but to human society. Interesting stuff, with some other good sites that I picked up upon.