""I could have titled this book The Moral Mind to convey the sense that the human mind is designed to 'do' morality, just as it’s designed to do language, sexuality, music [...] But I chose the title 'The Righteous Mind' to convey the sense that human nature is not just intrinsically moral, it’s also intrinsically moralistic, critical, and judgmental."The book's three main sections correspond to Haidt's three basic principles of intuitionist moral psychology:
1) Intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second.
Haidt studied in Chicago under the anthropologist Richard Shweder from whom he gleaned a suspicion of rationalism and a distinction between "sociocentric" and "individualistic" societies. A sociocentric society puts the needs of groups and institutions first and subordinates the needs of individuals to them: examples range from traditional tribal societies, through theocracies to secular totalitarian regimes. Individualistic societies place the individual first. This is a distinction that runs deep because it nurtures different kinds of self. The industrial West has become increasingly individualistic over the last two centuries, and even our ostensibly collectivist welfare states mainly protect individuals against the vicissitudes of life. Almost all social and political science starts from individualist assumptions, while many of the world's peoples still live sociocentric lives, hence that incomprehension which, for example, dogs our relations with the Islamic world.