UMD Reads The Righteous Mind

A blog for and about the 2013 UMD First Year Book Project

Moral Tastes: A Rainbow of Flavors

Hi everyone, Professor Cox here again. So, in chapter six, Haidt introduces the metaphor of moral “taste buds,” explaining that all cultures have a set of moral “flavors,” which guide their structure. He explains that usually two variations arise, a “welfare” based or a “rights” based mode of operation.  But, he points out, all cultures have a mix of these flavors. He cautions that philosophies which attempt to reduce morality to a “single principle” are limiting, and don’t encompass the nuance and multitudinous nature of our moral reasoning (132).   


As a teacher of writing here at UMD, I feel privileged to be exposed to the moral tastes of my students. Through our classroom discussion, reading and writing, individual perspectives are always revealed in unique and surprising ways. Writing is a practice of refining your thinking, taking ideas from the outside and relating them to your own experience and values. Students in first year writing courses are asked to think critically, investigate ideas through writing and propose arguments based on their own reasoning. I find that when we make arguments and assertions we are almost always making underlying assumptions about what is right, what is moral even if we don’t state it directly. In rhetorical terms we might call this reasoning that uses enthymeme. In other words, we lean towards our favorite moral tastes. As an instructor, I have my own leanings in moral taste. One of the strengths for me personally with this book was that Haidt actually really helped me to sort of “see how the other half lives.”


Another quick example came for me on pages 136-138, where Haidt presents a graph (fig. 6.1). The graph shows how people usually tend to move in one direction or the other, being “systemizers” or “empathizers.”  I’ll admit, I think I’m an empathizer. I frequently look for the emotional or sympathetic component of the information I take in. I am grateful that I have all sorts of students in my classes who are very different than I am and I get to learn about why they see things the way that they do. Some are more systematic and others are sympathetic but in very different variations from one another. Haidt gave me some essential clues to better understanding the thoughts and morals of people I might encounter. I feel better prepared now to remember that our moral reasoning is not only complex but is also rooted in multiple places like experience, brain chemistry, culture and genetics.


So, my questions to you dear readers are these: when you read something—an article, a book, a Facebook posting, how do you decipher the “moral tastes” of the author and their argument? What clues are you given in the text and how do you decide what the underlying moral foundations of the argument are? Haidt explicitly tells us about his own bias but many things we read and encounter do not.  Once you’ve deciphered the moral component, how do you use that to inform how you will respond to the text? Think of something you read recently; can you identify what the strongest moral tastes were in the piece? Do you understand the text differently thinking about it through the lens of moral reasoning? What if it goes against your own favorite moral tastes?


If you haven’t read something besides this book recently (it is summer vacation after all), take a quick look at this very short video where journalists are discussing former NSA employee Edward Snowden and tell me, what do you think about the underlying moral reasoning they are discussing? Do they lean more towards the sympathetic or the systemizing foundation? How can you tell?



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54 thoughts on “Moral Tastes: A Rainbow of Flavors

  1. Kayla St. John on said:

    Chapter six was a personal favorite of mine due to Haidt’s explanation of “the two dimensions of cognitive style”. I happen to be an empathizer and I never understood those who were the opposite of myself. My mother has been working with children with autism and other needs for many years. When I would help her work with them, I was awed at their capabilities in subjects like math and science. My mom tried to explain to me that they were able “to work things out” in their mind when it came to schoolwork, but they lacked the normal social skills most have. I never quite understood how this could be true until I read this chapter. Haidt’s explanation of empathizers versus systemizer was an eye opener for me and I have since been able to understand how autism and other disorders affect others more clearly than ever before.

    • npavao24 on said:

      Replying to what Kiana said about how she was unable to comprehend what those with opposite views of her were thinking, I feel as if I’m in the same boat as her. However, after reading Haidt’s book I can realize why they have their views without having to actually agree with them. I also realize why it is so difficult to persuade another person to conform with your views. The reason why is simply because once you offend them by telling them their views are wrong and yours are correct, their elephant leans away from you and the rider or “inner lawyer” begins making its case against you so that the elephant doesn’t have to conform to you. Knowing this may help you to have constructive conversations rather than bitter arguments on topics.

  2. Kiana on said:

    Kayla I agree with what you are saying. I am also an empathizer and was never able to understand the point of view of someone who was the complete opposite of me. After reading this chapter I felt that Haidt helped me to understand the view of systemizers to the point where I can appreciate where they are coming from, as opposed to before where I thought that they simply chose not to care about the emotional aspects of things.

  3. Kiara Zea on said:

    Before reading The Righteous Mind I never thought about the moral component of books, or articles. After reading chapter six I realized that our moral tastes affect the way we view others. For example, when you read a book you get clues as to what type of person the characters are. I recently read The Street Lawyer, by John Grisham. The main character of the book was a lawyer named Michael. At first his thoughts were on making more money but once he saw who really needed him, Michael changed completely. Michael left his corporate job and went to work in a little office and most of his clients were homeless people who could not afford to pay for his legal services. I understood his actions and agreed that he made the correct decision.

    We make judgments on people’s actions and thoughts. I directly believe I am an empathetic reader. I try to understand what drove the character of a story to do what he/she did and if the character thought he/ she was correct. I then make a conclusion on what the character’s moral values are. I think that if any work goes against your moral taste you should respect the writer’s point of view and try to understand their beliefs because, “ we humans all have the same five receptors, but we don’t all like the same foods” (113).

    • acox1umassd on said:

      Good investigation here Kiara! It’s interesting that you chose a story where morals are definitely a key part. Lawyers have to think about this stuff all of the time right? It’s how they win cases before a jury I would imagine. And yet, it is never clear cut is it? We have to be guided by lots of moral tastes when interacting with others I think, just as you and Haidt point out.

  4. Rhianna Waterman on said:

    Perspective is a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something. I have never considered perspective as Haidt puts it: “We humans all have the same five taste receptors, but we don’t all like the same foods (132). Haidt’s metaphor enabled me to consider how others derive their own personal views rather than assume that they will understand where I am coming from. Most people formulate their opinions based on their upbringing, society, values, bias, cultural views, etc. Haidt, from an intuitionist perspective, believes that people arrive at moral judgment on the basis of intuitions which are often associated with emotions and whose opinions formulate without the need for conscious reasoning (134). I agree with Haidt, but from a rationalist approach, I also believe that people arrive at moral judgment by engaging in conscious moral reasoning on the basis of what rules they have learned from social interactions.

    Further, when Haidt discusses Baron-Cohen’s idea of empathizing versus systemizing, I instantly knew I was more of an empathizer. I came to this conclusion rather quickly after tutoring a 26 year old Autistic male in Math and English. The math was basic principles such as addition and subtraction, and the English consisted of identifying nouns and verbs to formulate sentences. Although I did not understand what he was thinking when trying to solve a problem, I could understand how frustrated he would get when he could not come up with the right answer. I was able to respond to his behavior and emotions with an appropriate action, usually encouragement. After tutoring sessions, I realized he was not able to empathize. He told me that he had a hard time understanding how other people felt so he chose to remain quiet instead of trying to feel what they felt. On the other hand, after spending longer periods of time talking to him, I realized that he was capable of systemizing. Haidt discusses that people who enjoy figuring out how machines work are above average on systemizing (136) and he enjoyed working with and talking about cars. Although usually shy, when I mentioned cars, he would open up completely. Chapter six in Haidt’s book enabled me to differentiate between the two concepts and I never would have thought twice about my tutoring sessions if I had not read The Righteous Mind. I have acquired a better understanding on how other people’s minds work, how we formulate morals and opinions, and how certain disorders can affect the thought process of another.

  5. Andrew Hill on said:

    The Righteous Mind is a eye opening book! What stuck out most for me about the “moral taste buds” in chapter six was how they are all connected to past adaptive challenges. That was fascinating because it makes so much sense! The chart “figure 6.2.” that displays the five foundations of morality really breaks down how still today we are just coping with adaptive challenges just in different ways.
    I think its great how direct the author is to really help us under stand the five “moral taste receptors” care, fairness, loyalty, authority, and sanctity. I feel with just knowing that iv learn a lot from this book now going forward in life I can really keep all this in mind.

  6. Mackenzie Underwood on said:

    Even though its considered gimmicky by many people I was delighted when I read the section on buzz words. The way people instantly develop positive or negative responses to certain words in certain context immediately affects their reaction by creating bias.

  7. Kayl a Torres on said:

    Chapter Six, mostly concerning the “moral taste buds” of the novel, sparked my attention the most. One of the most debatable topics, I believe the well-known debaters in the video clip discussing the NSA leak scandal clearly show the systemized point of view. They made they’re concerns of Edward Snowden’s tyrannical act against the CIA and the NSA completely unemotionally based. When in reality, I feel that Edward Snowden was a sympathetic thinker is believing the public must be aware of the breach in their privacy by their own government.
    With my personal history of working with patients, especially those in a more terminal situation, one like myself can’t help but feel a more emotional-attachment. I understand that rules are meant to be followed, but in special circumstances, perhaps made to be broken? Is it so terrible to break a rule when it is for a greater cause?
    Edward Snowden may have gone against his company, but certainly not his fellow American people. That doesn’t sound like a man of criminality to me.

  8. Amber Massa on said:

    Chapter 6 also made me realize that not everyone thinks the way I do and it taught me how to understand people that have different views from myself. I strongly agree with Kayla Torres who commented above me, the debate against Edward Snowden was systemized. Yes he did break a law but it was for the greater good of the people. Now morals come into play, I believe it was morally right to leak the information as he did but others may feel differently because in turn, he did break a law. He may have broken a legal law but breaking a legal law verse a moral law are two very different situations. What I took from this chapter is that all humans are diverse and no two humans “taste buds” are alike.

    • acox1umassd on said:

      Amber, I agree with you. The Snowden case is pretty fascinating in terms of Haidt’s moral lens. I wonder if he is violating that sense of loyalty/sancity/authority that we have embedded within us? And, on the other side is the foundation of fairness. Is it fair that the US government is conducting surveillance on private citizens in collusion with corporations? A sticky issue and a good indicator of where individuals fall on the liberal/conservative spectrum.

  9. Sean Callahan on said:

    Chapter six in The Righteous Mind was one of particular interest to me personally. The idea that Haidt presents with the righteous mind being similar to the six senses most specifically the tongue is an interesting idea and one that could be interpreted in a few different ways.
    Haidt also touches on another subject involving the way the righteous mind should work instead of how we perceive it to work using logic. This is examined in what he calls the “five foundations.” I think that Haidt has taken a new and intriguing stance on the way our minds have adapted and the way our moral cognition develops as we mature.

  10. kevin robling on said:

    Through out my life I have never been able to empathize with some one well. When I read that section and saw the graph I found out that I’m a systemizer I enjoy figuring things out, but I don’t think that I’m too deep in the category. When I saw my god mothers son who has autism my first instinct was to see what was going wrong with him cause I didn’t know what autism was. I was wanting to cure him of the disease but I found out that it couldn’t be cured just by mechanical means or even constant therapy. I felt bad, but when I saw him put puzzles together faster than I ever saw someone put a brand new 350 piece puzzle together with out flipping the table in frustration. I saw him come home from school with homework from his math class. He finished it in less than five minutes of opening is back pack. I was astounded. Its a shame that his social capabilities are hindered. Haidt has given me a good definition of what it means to have autism and what autism is.

    • I agree with how eye opening this book was to the realism of autism. My mom had been a special aid teacher for years, focusing on kids with autism, but I still never quite understood it. This book opened my eyes to the fact that while they have a serious lack in social skills, they more than excel in certain interests to them. For example, one child my mom worked with had memorized the entire Red Sox schedule for that year, down to the times and locations of each game. Keep in mind this kid is in second grade. He could tell you anything you could ever want to know about every player on the roster. While most people only know of the bad aspects of autism, its often forgotten that those who suffer also excel and can out-match nearly anybody else in there selected interests.

      • acox1umassd on said:

        I agree with you John, you make a nice point. It is easy to forget that just because you perhaps don’t have a super balanced systemizer v. empathizer set of skills, doesn’t mean you don’t have very strong skill sets. Thank you for your insights here!

  11. Brianne Dyson on said:

    One of my favorite metaphors in The Righteous Mind was “the moral taste receptors.” Haidt explained it perfectly. Morality is not just based on a single principle, it is based on several. Every culture has the same six receptors but some of the receptors are triggered more depending on the culture. For example Conservatives are triggered more by loyalty, authority, and sanctity and Liberals more by care and fairness. I always thought we all just had completely different minds. Haidt taught me that in fact we all have the same exact receptors but some are used more in others depending on the person.

    • Phuong Pham on said:

      I agree with you on that. I think it’s absolutely fascinating that we all have the same receptors yet we still have different views or opinions on certain things. It’s strange that one idea in one culture can be perceived in so many different ways, negatively or positively, in other cultures.

    • Nick Krackovic on said:

      I’m also big fan of that metaphor. I think its stated perfectly because its so true that everyone has the same receptors but wat one finds appealing can be found repulsive by someone in a different culture half way around the wrold.

  12. Kelsey on said:

    Personally anytime I read something I find myself jumping rather quickly to judging the author based on their grammar, spelling, and use of slang. But after reading this chapter I find that it is easier to be more compassionate and patient with people if I focus directly on what people are saying. Instead of the way they are saying it.
    Actually getting over this weird logical mindset and trying to open “My Moral Lens” has made it easier for me to understand and communicate with people. I really did gain a lot out of reading this chapter.

  13. Martin Boersma on said:

    When reading a novel that contains specific morals, i tend to pick out the man ideas throughout it and then put them all together at the end and figure it out from there. In “The Righteous Mind” many different morals are prevalent, my favorite being in chapter six concerning the understanding of differing opinions. The key points in this chapter helped me to understand where these different opinions come from and to be less obtuse about responding to them and to not just shut peoples thoughts out right away. Although the book was a bit boring at times i honestly feel as though i have become somewhat of a better person for reading it.

  14. Alejandro on said:

    Before reading “The Righteous Mind” i always had a sense of observation to the surroundings of everything i did or everywhere i went. But after reading the “Taste Buds” section of how Haidt went into the restuarant “The True Taste” (pg 131) it completely just simplified my everyday hobbie of observating people into a whole new world. I’ve always listened to people’s words and comments for what they want to speak for and much more but ever since i read this book it has made me want to start doing surveys and private observations just to see more of the world of people i see every day. We all have the same emotions in life such as taste buds, but different reasoning towards why each is satisfied in different manners. I use thi analysis for mostly everything i do now.

  15. Matt Reardon on said:

    For me, this chapter was my favorite. I like how Haidt compared the mind to a tongue in regards to preferences. It made it really easy for me to understand where others get their opinions and why people often have a difficult time reaching an agreement. As someone who frequently has disagreements with friends on topics such as sports and politics, this chapter helped guide my understanding of why we are eventually forced to agree to disagree. As Haidt states “We humans all have the same five taste receptors, but we don’t all like the same foods” (132).

    • Lucas Yosimura on said:

      I agree I also think the way Haidt used the “moral taste receptors” in this chapter was very insightful. In my case I am able to understand different views that people have, but the only person I do not see eye to eye is with my mother. We always argue over the smallest things and this chapter has made me understand her point of view somewhat.

      • Tia Brown on said:

        The “Moral Taste Receptor” allowed me to understand my current boyfriends family views on life . It was difficult to relate to them simply because they were Jehovas witness’s and i live life morally with no religious views .The moral taste receptors explained the 6 receptors and i related completely to both . Living my life morally has many similarities to them living bible structured. I agree with the philosopher that morality is one principle.

  16. Every time I come across something online I ask myself does that have an effect on me? A lot of people post things on Facebook, whether a comment about something or a picture, and I can’t help but read or look at it and immediately think to myself. I come from a small country Bulgaria in Europe, and throughout my life there I have learned to pay attention to everything. I’m not saying this in a naive kind of way but in a way that makes me understand the situation or information I’m presented with well enough to think of how it affects me. I don’t mean that everything posted online should be believable, but if I were to see a picture of a puppy in a cage, for example, it would definitely affect me emotionally because I love animals and I care about them. If I were to see something about politics, though, it would probably not affect me as much i any way because I’m not that much into politics. Basically what I am trying to say is that humans react to everything but not in the same way. We all have these morality and reasoning alerts in our minds that help us separate the important things from the ones not so important and guide us through life, helping us become wiser and smarter on the way.

    • acox1umassd on said:

      Galina, yes. We all do have a reactive nature. And I agree, we react to the things that are valuable to us most strongly. So, I pose this question to you, how do you determine your reactions based not only on the content of the text or image you are seeing but the underlying motive of the author/text to influence you in some way? How do you determine the moral foundations that are guiding their purpose?

  17. I consider myself and empathetic reader. Whether its an article, facebook post, or novel I always try to read into the situation, the background, and what may of made the character/person do what they did, or react the way they did. I try not to judge people off of my morals alone, instead I try to see from their POV. I admit I do not always agree with people, and sometimes I do have to agree to disagree, but I always try to have their opinion explained to me thoroughly so that I can understand where they are coming from.

    • acox1umassd on said:

      So, do you think this conscious work to understand the views of others is applicable on a grand scale of politics and religion within society? Do we start on the individual level and work our way out? I got so curious here with Haidt because it feels like he is saying that sometimes our viewpoints are innate to us and that perhaps that means they are unchangeable. However, he also seems to be saying that we can at least respect, if not agree with, the views of others. I think you highlight that nicely Kyleigh.

  18. Jeremy Mazzola on said:

    This chapter made a lot of sense to me in comparison with other chapters of the book. The comparison of the moral mind to a tongue made perfect sense to me. Before this, I really had no way of comparing peoples moral standings on certain subjects. Some people like certain foods, just like some people see the world differently bases on their morals. So, in a way, arguing about the taste of certain foods is very similar to arguing about hot topics such as abortion or racism. It doesn’t matter what side of the argument you’re on because you can’t change the fact that you feel a certain way, or don’t like a certain food.

  19. Mariah Pennington on said:

    I found it interesting how much morality plays into politics. Before reading The Righteous Mind, I admit to having a tendency to simplify political parties into “good” versus “bad” teams, each having polar opposite values. It was amazing to learn about the six main “taste buds” of the righteous mind and to discover how Democratic and Republican parties both appeal to those tastes. The analogy between morals and food especially assisted my understanding of how a broader palate that includes a range of flavors is actually more satisfying than a limited one that only caters to a few specific receptors. Seeing how both sides of the political spectrum have valid points and therefore can not be conveniently labeled as completely negative or positive really opened up my eyes and my mind.

    • acox1umassd on said:

      Mariah, thanks for your observations here. I hadn’t thought of it just that way but you are right, part of Haidt’s purpose here is to get us to think in more nuanced, diverse ways and with less judgment, more reasoning, and maybe a little more patience with others?

  20. Sam Francis on said:

    I particularly liked this chapter a lot because it reminded me of people in the internet who just seem to only disagree with things and spew negativity. Usually, I can’t really understand how a person can have so much hate for something that is trivial. An example of this that I find a lot of people can relate to is Rebecca Black’s song, “Friday”. Personally, I do not see what everyone was complaining about with that song. Sometimes, I really wish I could step back from my natural bias to see things equally so maybe I could understand the source of not only comments from this song, but arguments and politics as well.

  21. Ariel Gaspar on said:

    I definitely have to agree with Kyleigh. Whenever I read into something or even when communicating with a peer, I sometimes tend to read too much into it. I make sure I completely understand the situation from their point of view. I do not want to judge a person because of their morals and how they act because of the way that they grew up. If I disagree with the person, at least I have an understanding of what the person is trying to get at and I can see the valid point that they are making. I can used this in order to make a valid point on my opinion.

  22. Krystina San Soucie on said:

    When I read something, I immediatley try to judge the tone the author is using. I try to judge if thier tone is angry, happy, etc. then try to imagine what situation could have caused them to feel the way they do. Other people who write and try to hide their tone, I try to read into what they said and make a rough judgement of what they may be feeling or believe in morally. Diction can sometimes be a good clue to see a person’s underlying moral foundations, as it may reveal bias. Once I understand’s a person’s morals, it is easier for me to understand the reasoning behind a persons thoughts and actions, and makes them easier to relate to. Even if I do not agree with their morals or beliefs, I can at least understand how to approach the person better. It is best to just try and remember everyone is different, and to approach everyone with tolerance.

  23. The Righteous Mind is overall a very intriguing and informative book. Chapter six, specifically, has served as an eye opener and provided me with so much more knowledge. I recently went on a trip to India to visit family. Infrastructure and culture wise there are many differences between the the States and India.

    • (Continuation of my comment, I didn’t finish)

      Every time I visit there I am always taken aback by the moral/culture differences. I have also always had a difficult time being accustomed to the mentality of the citizens there. Coming from a liberal background has made it hard to understand the perspective of a conservative Indian. I believe it was because my “taste buds” are quite different from theirs. I have different views and was quick to judge theirs.

      However, Haidt made a good point: “There’s always some overlap among lists, but even there are different shades of meaning. Bhudda, Christ, and Muhammad all talked about compassion, but in rather different ways” (142). This quote and the chapter in general helped me to respect their culture more. This time stepping out of my comfort zone and adapting to their taste buds became a lot easier. I viewed the people and country from different angles which helped broadened my “moral taste receptors”.

  24. Carina DeBarcelos on said:

    Whenever I read something, I always notice the tone the author sets and I try to analyze his/her point of view. Even though I have read pieces that I don’t agree with, I completely understand the author’s beliefs and moral judgments. If I disagree with a person, I get an understanding of the other person’s viewpoints and I can comprehend as to why that person feels that way. I believe you shouldn’t shut down a person’s opinions and accept their morals, whether you agree with them or not.

  25. Dominic Siaw on said:

    This chapter really intrigued me as I kept on reading. We all have similar taste buds but we tend to have different reactions to situations. I personally think that culture plays a major role in our moral reasoning and perspective. The values we acquire from our society affects our reactions to situations. Even though people tend to have different perspective we become bias when making decisions in critical situations since we are empathizers.

    As humans we are very quick to judge things whether from books, articles, or Facebook blogs. People tend to make arguments based on their perspective and moral reasoning acquired from culture and life experiences.

    Edward Snowden;s case exposes us that we tend to live by laws which sometimes interferes with our moral reasoning. He thought he was doing what was morally right but ended up breaking the law. The journalists are systemizing towards him because he refused to abide by a law. I think they should empathize towards him because he thought he did what was morally right.

  26. As I was reading this chapter I actually found myself noticing the “flavors” of certain media around me and was surprised to notice just how heavily I myself depended on some rather than others. I feel that by becoming more aware of all of these moral “taste buds” one can make decisions in a more balanced way. This also helps us in confronting people with varying moral opinions. By thinking about which of these moral foundations another person is basing their opinions on, it can be much easier to connect with them. These ideas are definitely something I will keep in mind.

  27. Valentina Lopez on said:

    One of the metaphors that caught my eye in The Righteous Mind has to be “the moral taste receptors.” Every culture has the same six receptors but some of the receptors vary from culture to culture. An example would be that Conservatives are all about traditions, patriotism and loyalty. On the other hand, Liberals are more about individualism and fairness. Haidt taught me that we all have the same exact receptors but some are used more in others depending on each individual. It’s strange that one idea in one culture can be perceived in so many different ways, either negatively or positively, in other cultures.As Haidt stated “We humans all have the same five taste receptors, but we don’t all like the same foods” (132).

  28. Matthew Cafferky on said:

    In regard to the video clip the man who states that we want to debate issues, but then want to throw the people who start the debates in jail is clearly sympathizing. I find that statement to be a dangerous thought because many of the debates that we have in this country are caused by criminal action and that does not mean that they should go unpunished. Just this summer our country engaged in many discussions and debates about race during the trial of George Zimmerman. His actions caused this debate, but does does that mean he should not have faced prosecution? Of course not! When someone is accused of committing a crime and there is substantial evidence that they have done so they should face a trial by a jury of their peers. As did George Zimmerman so should Edward Snowden. Causing debates is no excuse for poor behavior and breaking the law.

    • Mathew Pilozzi on said:

      While I respect your opinion, I don’t think that what Snowden did qualifies as “poor behavior.” He needed to break the law in order to prove his claims; if he hadn’t released the documents would people have believed him (or would the government have denied it)? Our country was founded on the principle that the people should fight back against a tyrannical government, and Snowden was merely doing what needed to be done by informing the public.

  29. Brian McCauley on said:

    What I found interesting about the “moral tastebuds” is how he compared it to politics and how Republicans feed each of the tastebuds for your votes. I find this interesting because this could very well be used for any marketing, which surrounds us in our media. Media makes us feel all sorts of different ways and not until i read this chapter did I realized that its done on purpose following pretty basic rules about each of the buds, not just trying to make you feel a way towards an idea but trying to make you feel.

  30. Andrew Jensen on said:

    When I read an article, I try to look at their opinion as a whole, then dissect individual parts. each part can be examined under the moral foundations theory. The tone and author’s personal opinion of the subject are considered. I read this article on Syria recently, that talked about a need to punish syria for chemical weapons. The author used care/harm principle as one of the reasons to intervene.(ex. Protect civilians and children from danger.) The author warned about having enough evidence to actually intervene, unlike in Iraq. This is a fairness/cheating principle, he doesn’t want deception to be involved in an intervention. I understand how this about the same through moral foundations.

  31. Joseph Cataldo on said:

    What I got from the video and statement about how those who start debates and then how we want them in jail, is sympathizing and protecting what seems to be “his side” which is that Edward Snowden is innicent. Its very obviouse that this man didnt agree with the others statement and defended his thinking with the comment. Also i wanted to say that i liked Matthew Cafferky (two above me) point about if someone faces a crime with a lot of evidence then they should be trialed were a jury of his pairs can decide his fate, however there morals will coe into play and could ost likley hold a ig factor. With so many exeptions that keep evolving, are legal system seems like it cant keep up.
    Also my favorite part of the book is also Chapter 6 it makes a comparison on how our mind has its own taste buds meaning that we all have prefrences. This chapter was a way for everyone reading it to realize that people act a certain way because of there own preferences, and that we have our own which are normal to use.

  32. Skylar Cowley on said:

    In my opinion, Haidt’s discussion about his experience as a student in a program that defined morality in children was most illuminating.

    In the section, Haidt discusses how children can have several “growing curves” as they were in their development that helps develop their moralistic values as people. (Haidt 23-56)

    I believe this notion of nature over nurture to be very true even today. Two historic examples on how our moral tastes differ can come from the same plateau of conversation. In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech declaring equality for all in America no matter what their race. During his famous speech, I personally deciphered the message Mr. King gave which was simply, “Do unto others as they do unto you”

    The other example came 50 years later in 2013 with the Trayvon Martin Case. The jury was faced with the same issues that appeared in the Civil Rights Movement in 1963 but were seen differently because race had not been a huge issue in America since then.

    That idea that moralistic values change goes on a person-by-person basis and has no true pattern. This is why nature is a massive contributor to how we as people morally decode things as we move throughout life.

  33. Blake Kogut on said:

    I really enjoyed chapter six because I liked to view my life through thinking about how I use the six taste receptors. After I learned all six foundations they seamed so simple and basic but very important to human interaction. I thought about each foundation and related it to a different situation i have been in my life. I enjoy when a book makes you think like that.

  34. Austin Nykiel on said:

    After reading about systemizers and empathizers I was surprised to find out that in reality I am more of an emathizer than I thought. I always used to think that I thought very clearly and very rationally, however; after this book I was finding myself leaning more towards a sympathizer. After thinking logically about this I was actually not surprised at all to see myself become more empathetic because throughout my life that is what my parents have more or less instilled on me.

  35. Kendall Denose on said:

    I personally have never been able to look at a situation without letting my emotions cloud my over all judgement, and although I would try to keep an open mind when it came to speaking to others with a different view on a situation, I would always find myself engaged in a heated discussion/argument. But after reading chapter six, although I still believe I’m an empathizer, I find it a little easier to understand where systemizers are coming from. Emotions should not always be a part of the picture, some times you do need to have a more logical view of things.

  36. Jeffrey Kobza on said:

    I’ve always been a big reader, but I had never really read between the lines of many things. Haidt really opens my eyes to all the metaphors that can be created out of just about anything, food in his case. It just really intrigued me that he could depict such a thing because like a normal person, when I see different foods, I just consider their different tastes and ponder which one I’d prefer. However, being the genius that he must be, Jonathan Haidt thinks ten steps further and creates a politics vs. religion image within the foods. I’m already beginning to see the different metaphors in my surroundings, most of them self-created, after his entrancing words.

  37. Kenya Mejia on said:

    I have always been an empathetic reader. I tend to understand the main character’s point of view, even if I completely disagree with it. A good example is Holden Caulfield from the catcher in the rye. Although his personality was not good and his view of life was depressing. He still wished the best for his sister, which made him a very inspirational character because he wanted to help children in their transition to adults.

  38. I can easily understand what Haidt is talking about with empathizers and systemizers as it shows not everyone thinks the same. Whenever I have disagreed with someone I never really knew why they couldn’t see where I was coming from but at the same time I never tried to understand where they were coming from. I have always assumed the way I thought was logical but after reading this it makes sense. I am probably more empathizing and less systematic than I originally thought.

    • Robert Moss on said:

      The fact that each culture comes with different pre set morals just shows how different each culture is. This is why we can’t say if one persons morals are better than another persons. If we all had the same set of morals the world would be a too plain.

  39. Erika Damas on said:

    From the beginning of time we humans have always seeked to be apart of some type of “group”. Whether that group be based on similarities or blood relation, it has always been an innate response when the feeling of loneliness or approval starts to creep up on us. When reading the chapter about “grouping” I thought of two things; the first one being that we group not to push people out but to make sure we aren’t pushed out. So to piggy back off of what Arielle said, I am Haitian also and felt the same way as I saw the “undercover Zoe’s” come out after the earthquake. But I realized that all they wanted to do is be accepted and approved by a group that was 1. finally got the “thumbs up but their surroundings” and 2. That they felt they could fit in too. Then when I realized that, it brought up the second thing that I thought of while reading this book. In this book Haidt speaks about grouping and in a way that is also used in a book called “The Tipping Point”. In this book grouping is explained as something we as humans do instinctively as a part of our everyday life. Whether it be amongst ourselves, our food, our clothes; everything.

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