I study morality, which means I have to draw from most of the social sciences. Over the years I have found a number of books that have given me feelings of excitement and enlightenment, and often gratitude to the author. My research on positive emotions (with Sara Algoe) finds that one of the hallmarks of gratitude and admiration is the desire to enhance the reputation of oneís benefactors and role models. So here, in pursuit of such enhancement, is a list of my favorite books and articles.
[Note: I have not updated this list since 2004. But here is a list of great recent science trade books that includes many of the ones I would list... or would read if I had time!]
1) General Psychology and Related Social Sciences (Followup to my psych 101 class)
de Waal, F.
(1996). Good natured: The origins of right and wrong in humans and other
Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. Garden City, NY: Doubleday. [A classic of social psychology. Brilliant analyses of the nuances of everyday behavior, and the ways we try to manipulate other peopleís perceptions of ourselves]
Harris, J. R. (1998). The Nurture Assumption: Why children turn out the way they do.
Leakey, R. (1994). The origin of
S. (1997). How the mind works.
Seligman, M. E. P. (2002). Authentic
Wilson, T. D. (2002). Strangers to ourselves:† Discovering the adaptive unconscious.
Baumeister, R. F. (1997). Evil: Inside human cruelty and
Brandt, A. M., & Rozin, P. (Eds.).
(1997). Morality and health.
Damasio, A. (1994). Descartes'
error: Emotion, reason, and the human brain.
Damon, W. (1997). The youth
charter: How communities can work together to raise standards for all our
F. (1996). Good natured: The origins of right and wrong in humans and other
Fiske, A. P. (1991). Structures of social life.
Frank, R. (1988). Passions within reason: The strategic
role of the emotions.
Hunter, J. D. (1991). Culture wars: The
struggle to define America.
Kohlberg, L. (1971). From is to ought: How to commit the
naturalistic fallacy and get away with it in the study of moral development. In T. Mischel (Ed.), Psychology and
Genetic Epistemology (pp. 151-235).
Lakoff, G. (1996). Moral politics: What conservatives
know that liberals don't.
Wilson, J. Q. (1993). The moral sense.
Wright, R. (1994). The moral animal. †Pantheon.
Here are some works that are not about morality, but that strongly shaped my views of cognition, leading to my approach to morality as primarily a matter of intuition:
--Dunbar, R. (1996). Grooming, gossip,
and the evolution of language.
--Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M.
(1980). Metaphors we live by.
--Margolis, H. (1987). Patterns,
thinking, and cognition.
--Metcalfe, J., & Mischel, W. (1999). A hot/cool-system analysis of delay of gratification: Dynamics of willpower. Psychological Review, 106, 3-19.
--Nisbett, R. E., & Wilson, T. D. (1977). Telling more than we can know: Verbal reports on mental processes. Psychological Review, 84, 231-259.
--Zajonc, R. B. (1980). Feeling and thinking: Preferences need no inferences. American Psychologist, 35, 151-175.
3) Moral Philosophy
Churchland, P. M. (1996). The neural representation of the social world. In L. May, M.
Friedman & A. Clark (Eds.), Mind and Morals: Essays on ethics and
cognitive science (pp. 91-108).
Gibbard, A. (1990). Wise
choices, apt feelings.
Flanagan, O. (1996). Ethics naturalized: Ethics as human
ecology. In L. May, M. Friedman & A. Clark (Eds.), Mind and Morals:
Essays on ethics and cognitive science (pp. 19-43).
Hume, D. (1969). A treatise of human
Singer, P. (1979). Practical ethics.
4) Cultural Psychology and Anthropology
Abu-Lughod, L. (1986). Veiled sentiments.
Boehm, C. (1999). Hierarchy in the forest: The evolution
of egalitarian behavior.
Fessler, D. T. (1999). Toward an understanding of
the universality of second order emotions. In A. Hinton (Ed.), Beyond nature or nurture:† Biocultural
approaches to the emotions (pp. 75-116).
Fiske, A. P. (1991). Structures of social life.
Henrich, J., & Gil-White, F. J. (2001). The evolution of prestige: Freely conferred status as a mechanism for enhancing the benefits of cultural transmission. Evolution and human behavior, 22, 1-32.
Nisbett, R. E., & Cohen, D. (1996). Culture of honor: The psychology of violence in the South.
Richerson, P. J., & Boyd, R. (in press). The nature of cultures.
Shweder, R. A. (1991). Thinking
through cultures: Expeditions in cultural psychology.
5) Positive Psychology and positive emotions
Fredrickson, B. L. (1998). What good are positive emotions? Review of General Psychology, 2, 300-319.
Keyes, C. L. M., & Haidt, J. (Eds.). (2003). Flourishing:
Positive psychology and the life well lived.
Longinus. (1907). Longinus
on the Sublime, 2nd Ed.
Maslow, A. H. (1964). Religions,
values, and peak-experiences.
Seligman, M. E. P. (2002). Authentic happiness.
--Cleckley, H. (1955). The mask of sanity.
--Durkheim, E. (1951). Suicide.
--Freud, S. (1961). Civilization and its
--James, W. (1961). The varieties of
--Rozin, P., & Fallon, A. (1987). A perspective on disgust. Psychological Review, 94, 23-41.
--Schwartz, B. (2004). The paradox of choice.
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Last Updated† April 20, 2004