Jonathan Haidt speaks at UCCS about his novel ‘The Coddling of the American Mind’

8 October 2019

Devon Williams

dwilli12@uccs.edu

Jonathan Haidt, bestselling author and social psychologist, is coming to UCCS to speak on whether or not the college population has their feelings too easily hurt by discussing the novel he and Greg Lukianoff co-wrote, “The Coddling of the American Mind.”

The event will take place in the Shockley-Zalabak Theater at the Ent Center for the Arts on Oct. 16, and will detail Haidt and Lukianoff’s exploration of three ideas that make it difficult for students to become fully functional adults and how to fix the ideas.

Haidt joined the New York University Stern School of Business in July 2011. He is a professor of Ethical Leadership within the Business and Society Program. Within the Stern program at NYU, he is applying his research on moral psychology to influence others to rethink the ways business ethics are studied. His goal is to draw on the best behavioral science research to create organizations that can function ethically while decreasing ethical training in the workplace.

The idea for “The Coddling of the American Mind,” according to Sean Stevens, came during a lunch in 2014 when Lukianoff asked Haidt to make sense of a trend that had emerged over the past few years. Lukianoff had noticed students demanded more campus censorship, whereas in the past, students had opposed administrative calls for campus censorship.

This concerned Lukianoff because the increase of censorship on campus was discouraging students’ growth during this critical part of their lives. Instead, it was encouraging students to become “fragile, anxious, and easily hurt,” as Lukianoff’s hypothesis states.

Lukianoff and Haidt state in The Coddling of the American Mind that the emergence of this upcoming culture of “safetyism” has made many institutional practices overreach in their goal to protect children. Lukianoff and Haidt argue that this is the downside of other social changes in this world. They claim it is the problem of progress: “Yet, these advances have also produced institutional practices that, in our contemporary milieu, undermine our ability to solve important social problems.”

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