Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them Info
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“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.”—The Boston Globe
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.
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.