Said the psychologist Jonathan Haidt, quoted by Michael P. Lynch, who says:
According to Haidt, not only are value judgments less often a product of rational deliberation than we’d like to think, that is how we are supposed to function. That it is how we are hardwired by evolution. In the neuroscientist Drew Westen’s words, the political brain is the emotional brain.That reminds me: new Supreme Court term starts today.
Often “reasoning” really seems to be post-hoc rationalization...
... we tend to accept that which confirms what we already believe (psychologists call this confirmation bias). And the tendency goes beyond just politics....Lynch thinks Haidt goes too far:
Critics of reason, from Haidt to conservative intellectuals like Burke and Oakeshott, see reason as an inherently flawed instrument. As a consequence, they see the picture of politics I’ve just suggested — according to which democracies should be spaces of reasons — as unfounded and naïve. Yet to see one another as reason-givers doesn’t mean we must perceive one another as emotionless, unintuitive robots. It is consistent with the idea, rightly emphasized by Haidt, that much rapid-fire decision making comes from the gut. But it is also consistent with the idea that we can get better at spotting when the gut is leading us astray, even if the process is slower and more ponderous than we’d like.Haidt's new book is "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion."