“Us” versus “Them” dynamics have occupied a central place in human society since time immemorial. In this intriguing book, psychologist Joshua Greene explores the resource-based reasons why people tend to fight those outside their “tribe” – such as the desire for decent places to live, good food, healthy bodies and enough time to enjoy the people they care about – as well as the more ephemeral causes of conflict. According to Greene, tribes often fight each other because they have different conceptions of what it means to live in a good and just community. Such clashes have only grown as life has become more globalized, Greene notes. Still, there is hope if people can find ways to speak across their differences.
Greene delves into a number of subject areas in the course of his examination of the causes of and cures for moral conflicts – including neurology, psychology, social science and philosophy – and does not shy away from academic terminology. Not all readers will find Greene’s claims about the possibilities inherent in his version of utilitarianism, which he calls “deep pragmatism,” entirely convincing; nevertheless, the text is rarely dry or boring. Moreover, the author’s original research, engaging examples and practical suggestions will interest anyone bewildered by the strident ethical conflicts so prevalent in today’s world.
About the Author
Joshua Greene is an experimental psychologist, neuroscientist, philosopher and Professor of Psychology at Harvard University.