Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A political discourse with substance

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Edge Foundation, Inc. was formed in 1988 to promote inquiry into and discussion of intellectual, philosophical, artistic, and literary issues, and to work for what it calls the intellectual and social achievement of society. It is a nonprofit, private operating foundation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The Foundation's website posted an academic discourse this month by Jonathan Haidt, What Makes People Vote Republican? One should not be put off by the presumption or apparent bias behind the title of what is, essentially, a fascinating exploration of why liberals and conservatives have trouble getting along. The article presents a meaty alternative to the vapidity of our anointed political analysts in the media.

Haidt is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia where he does research on morality and emotion and how they vary across cultures. He is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom.

Edge also posted several responses to Haidt:

The Ties That Bind
, by Daniel Everett, linguist; chair, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Illinois State University; author, Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazon Jungle.

by Howard Gardner, psychologist, Harvard University; (currently) Jacob K. Javits Visiting Professor, New York University; author, Changing Minds.

The Conscience of the Conservative, by Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American; author, Why Darwin Matters; and How We Believe.

How Religion Creates Moral Society, by Scott Atran, anthropologist, University of Michigan; author, In Gods We Trust.

Why do People Vote at All? by James Fowler, political scientist, University of California, San Diego; coauthor, Mandates, Parties, and Voters: How Elections Shape the Future.

The Morality of Childbearing, by Alison Gopnik, psychologist, University of California, Berkeley; author, The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds tell us About Trust, Love and the Meaning of Life (forthcoming).

Brain Science and Human Values, by Sam Harris, neuroscience researcher; author, The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation.

Essay, by James O'Donnell, classicist; cultural historial; provost, Georgetown University; author, The Ruin of the Roman Empire (forthcoming).

Report From Florida, by Roger Schank, formerly professor, Stanford, Yale, and Northwestern; latest projects:; and an alternative to the existing school systems described on

Allow at least an hour for a first read through, including the responses.

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