Moral Tribes

Moral Tribes : Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them

4.03 (2,129 ratings by Goodreads)
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"The Boston Globe"
Surprising and remarkable Toggling between big ideas, technical details, and his personal intellectual journey, Greene writes a thesis suitable to both airplane reading and PhD seminars.
Our brains were designed for tribal life, for getting along with a select group of others (Us) and for fighting off everyone else (Them). But modern times have forced the world s tribes into a shared space, resulting in epic clashes of values along with unprecedented opportunities. As the world shrinks, the moral lines that divide us become more salient and more puzzling. We fight over everything from tax codes to gay marriage to global warming, and we wonder where, if at all, we can find our common ground.
A grand synthesis of neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy, "Moral Tribes" reveals the underlying causes of modern conflict and lights the way forward. Greene compares the human brain to a dual-mode camera, with point-and-shoot automatic settings ( portrait, landscape ) as well as a manual mode. Our point-and-shoot settings are our emotions efficient, automated programs honed by evolution, culture, and personal experience. The brain s manual mode is its capacity for deliberate reasoning, which makes our thinking flexible. Point-and-shoot emotions make us social animals, turning Me into Us. But they also make us tribal animals, turning Us against Them. Our tribal emotions make us fight sometimes with bombs, sometimes with words often with life-and-death stakes.
An award-winning teacher and scientist, Greene directs Harvard University s Moral Cognition Lab, which uses cutting-edge neuroscience and cognitive techniques to understand how people really make moral decisions. Combining insights from the lab with lessons from decades of social science and centuries of philosophy, the great question of "Moral Tribes "is this: How can we get along with Them when what they want feels so wrong to Us?
Ultimately, Greene offers a set of maxims for navigating the modern moral terrain, a practical road map for solving problems and living better lives. "Moral Tribes" shows us when to trust our instincts, when to reason, and how the right kind of reasoning can move us forward.
A major achievement from a rising star in a new scientific field, "Moral Tribes" will refashion your deepest beliefs about how moral thinking works and how it can work better."
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Product details

  • Hardback | 422 pages
  • 162 x 243 x 35mm | 689g
  • English
  • Figures; Illustrations, black and white
  • 1594202605
  • 9781594202605
  • 378,074

Review quote

"Joshua Greene is the rarest of birds--a brilliant scientist and equally brilliant philosopher who simultaneously takes on the deepest problems of both disciplines. More than a decade in the making, "Moral Tribes" is a masterpiece--a landmark work brimming with originality and insight that also happens to be wickedly fun to read. The only disappointing thing about this book is that it ends." --DANIEL GILBERT, professor of psychology, Harvard University; author of the international bestseller "Stumbling on Happiness"
"A decade ago, the wunderkind Joshua Greene helped start the field of moral neuroscience, producing dazzling research findings. In this equally dazzling book, Greene shows that he is also one of the field's premier synthesists. Considerable progress has been made in solving the classic problem of how to get individuals within a group to start cooperating. Greene takes on an even bigger problem--how to foster cooperation between groups, groups with deeply felt morals and values, but with different morals and values. There are few more important issues to solve in our increasingly pluralistic world, and this beautifully written book is a step in that direction." --ROBERT SAPOLSKY, John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Professor of Biological Sciences, Stanford University
"Over the past decade, Greene's groundbreaking research has helped us understand how people judge right and wrong. Now, in this brilliant and enlightening book, he draws on his own research and that of many others to give a more complete picture of our differences over moral issues. But the significance of this book goes far beyond that. Greene suggests a common moral currency that can serve as a basis for cooperation between people who are otherwise deeply divided on matters of morality. If our planet is to have a peaceful and prosperous future such a common moral currency is urgently needed. This book should be widely read and discussed." --PETER SINGER, professor of bioethics, Pr
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About Joshua Greene

JOSHUA GREENE is the John and Ruth Hazel Associate Professor of the Social Sciences and the director of the Moral Cognition Lab in Harvard University s Department of Psychology. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the MacArthur Foundation. Greene has appeared on "Charlie Rose" and "Scientific American Frontiers," and his work has been featured in the "New York Times, Discover Magazine," WNYC s "RadioLab," and NPR s "Morning Edition.""
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Rating details

2,129 ratings
4.03 out of 5 stars
5 36% (773)
4 38% (815)
3 19% (402)
2 5% (111)
1 1% (28)
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