Why Does Haidt Use The Metaphor Of The Elephant?

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Philosophy Discussion #10 Monday’s reading (the first chapter of the book by Jonathan Haidt), explores a number of the themes we’ve been discussing thus far regarding personal identity, such as consciousness, the nature of mind, split brain research, etc. When you do the reading, you’ll note that Haidt uses the metaphor of an elephant, to get us to think about what Kahneman had called System 1 and System 2 thinking. 1) After doing the reading, how would you summarize the main argument of what Haidt is saying? How do you see it relating to what we’ve discussed so far? 2) Why does Haidt use the metaphor of the elephant? Do you find this to be a good metaphor (do you find yourself agreeing or disagreeing with this)? Explain why. Here is another…show more content…
Does the study seem to support what Haidt (and Kahneman) are saying? Explain why, or why not. Part…show more content…
I think Haidt uses the elephant because it displayed our lack of control. The elephant (automatic reactive thought) is large and is going to do whatever it want no matter what the rider (controlled conscious thought) wants. However, the rider is clever and can cajole the elephant to do what it wants, if it learns how the elephant works. By using an elephant he shows that our conscious thought is relatively small compared to the rest of our systems. It illustrates that we think we have control when in actuality, we do not. It also shows that it both rider and elephant are going in the same direction, that are virtually unstoppable. In other metaphors the conscious thought is some kind of driver that can be strengthened so that it has better control over the other systems, but as we know, this is not necessarily true. With the elephant, we can see that we do not have much control as we would like to think, but it also illustrates Haidts other point that we are the whole package, elephant and rider. It shows that it is less about control and more about understanding and acceptance. So, in conclusion, yes I think this is a good metaphor that illustrates Haidts points

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