Will Wilkinson reviews the often-unhinged John Gray’s book review of Jonathan Haidt. First paragraph below the fold (includes an amusing note on humanities scholars and “scientism”):
John Gray’s review of Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind is fun because Gray is vehemently opposed to almost everything, but he clearly thinks this is a pretty good book anyway. Gray actually seems slightly irritated that Haidt is so intellectually sophisticated, as if he’d been itching to rail righteously against errors he was later disappointed to discover Haidt doesn’t actually make. Nevertheless, he does manage to charge Haidt with a number of philosophical misdemeanors, few of which he is really guilty. The attempt to make the study of morality scientifically tractable earns Haidt the curse of “scientism,” an epithet anxiously deployed by humanities scholars whenever anyone steps on their turf armed with a caliper. And Haidt is brought in for abuse for confusing descriptive and normative matters, for not really understanding utilitarianism or intuitionism, and more.