This category contains 13 posts

The Cognitive Theory of Politics Fills the Hole in Moral Foundations Theory

I’m rereading The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion for a project I’m working on. As you know (I hope) the seeds for my Cognitive Theory of Politics are in there. One of them is Haidt’s discussion of WEIRD vs Holistic style of thought. Another is this quote: Enlightenment thinkers … Continue reading

Moral Foundations Perform Many Functions but are Insufficient to Fully Describe Morality

I believe that Jonathan Haidt’s Moral Foundations Theory as described in his book The Righteous Mind, in the many academic research papers he’s published, and in talks he’s given, many of which are available online, indicate that Moral Foundations perform many functions.  1) They are the primary colors of the moral spectrum from which every morality … Continue reading

Social Justice Warriors Physically Assault Trump Supporters. It Was Only a Matter of Time. Here’s Why.

Last night, Trump supporters were physically attacked by protesters.  This sort of action seems to be baked into the cake of the one-foundation, WEIRD Platonic mindset, and virtually absent from the all-foundation holistic Aristotelian mindset. Recognizing why this is so is a necessary step toward avoiding similar events in the future, and toward reducing partisan rancor … Continue reading

Liberal Hegemony in Academia “No Platforms” Truths of Human Nature and Thereby Exacerbates Partisan Discord

Articles like The Big Uneasy, the interview of Timothy Garton Ash, and many others highlighted by Heterodox Academy as these were, or written by its members, remind me of the fable of the blind men and the elephant, in which each blind man touched a different part of the elephant and concluded he had encountered a … Continue reading

Thesis Part Three – Cognitive Style is a Moral Foundation

Moral Foundations Theory (MFT) seems insufficient to explain everything we see in the social world around us.  It does not explain, for example, the stark differences between the liberal left – exemplified by groups like Heterodox Academy and The Village Square – and the illiberal left exemplified by protesters who shout down public speakers, disrupt political rallies, and otherwise attempt to protect themselves … Continue reading

Rousseau Knew Intuition Rules Reason; Sought to Bend Intuition to the Idealized “General Will” via Education, Like Today’s campus Protesters

Rousseau understood as Hume did that the passions (i.e., intuitive feelings) rule reason. The goal of education, therefore, Rousseau believed, should be to cultivate the right sorts passions and suppress the wrong ones.  He called the collection of the right passions was The General Will; an idealized Platonic vision of the good society and the new man with which all … Continue reading

Examining the Water, or Not

There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What … Continue reading

A Grave Error of Intellect and Imagination

Possibly the worst mistake we make in our attempts to understand the political divide is our unquestioning dogmatic insistence on seeing it as a tug of war between opposing equals when, on the contrary, evidence strongly suggests that it’s actually a struggle between Flatland and Spaceland.    Moral foundations and cognitive styles are primary dimensions of shape and depth that define the ideological … Continue reading

Henry James Sr. Stole My Idea (100 years before I had it)

He called it personality type, I call it cognitive style, but we’re talking about the same thing; the end points of a spectrum of different ways of thinking.  This, I believe, might be the ingredient that’s missing from Moral Foundation Theory that would allow it to explain what it currently cannot.  It is number three of … Continue reading

An Open Letter to Heterodox Academy

The web site of Heterodox Academy says it is “a politically diverse group of social scientists and other scholars who want to improve our academic disciplines. We have all written about a particular problem: the loss or lack of “viewpoint diversity.” It’s what happens when everyone in a field shares the same political orientation and certain … Continue reading

I Support Viewpoint Diversity


A politically diverse group of social scientists, natural scientists, humanists, and other scholars who want to improve our academic disciplines and universities. We share a concern about a growing problem: the loss or lack of “viewpoint diversity.” When nearly everyone in a field shares the same political orientation, certain ideas become orthodoxy, dissent is discouraged, and errors can go unchallenged.

An Interpretation of Jonathan Haidt’s Moral Foundations Theory

This sidebar lists a series of posts which together make up an essay relating Moral Foundations Theory to today's politics, and even a little history, as viewed through The Independent Whig's six-foundation moral lens.


Venn Diagram of Liberal and Conservative Traits and Moral Foundations and