Sustainable History

Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan

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The enduring assumption that human behaviour is governed by innate morality and reason is at odds with the persistence of human deprivation, injustice, brutality, inequality and conflict. This book offers a fresh look at human nature and universal security by proposing a new general theory of human nature, "emotional amoral egoism", and a specific theory of human motivation that draws on a wide range of philosophical, psychological and evolutionary approaches to human nature as well as neuroscientific research. It argues that human behaviour is governed primarily by emotional self-interest and that the human mind is a predisposed tabula rasa. The author argues that most human beings are innately neither moral nor immoral but rather amoral. Circumstances will determine the survival value of humankind's moral compass. This insight has profound implications for the re-ordering of governance mechanisms at all levels with a strong emphasis on the role of society and the global system. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the substrates of human nature and its universal security implications in relation to identity, conflict, ethnocentrism, xenophobia, morality and global governance.

Table of Contents


1 Human Nature: A Contested Concept

1.1. The Structure and Aims of the Book

2 Existing Approaches to Human Nature: A Historical Overview of Thought on Human Nature

2.1 Religious and Spiritual Approaches to Human Nature

2.1.1. Monotheistic Religions
2.1.2. Polytheistic, Holistic, Animistic and Animatistic Religions and Belief Systems
2.1.3. Animism and Animatism

2.2 Philosophical Approaches to Human Nature

2.2.1. Perfection through Reason
2.2.2. Constraint by Emotions
2.2.3. Nature
2.2.4. Nurture
2.2.5. Dualism
2.2.6. Innate Morality
2.2.7. Radical Freedom

2.3 Psychological Approaches to Human Nature

2.3.1. Freud and the Study of Psychological States
2.3.2. Skinner and the Study of Observable Behaviour
2.3.3. Maslow and the Focus on Human Needs
2.3.4. Lorenz and Evolutionary Thought in Psychology

2.4 Evolutionary Approaches to Human Nature

2.4.1. Evolutionary Theory
2.4.2. Sociobiology
2.4.3. Evolutionary Psychology

3 "Emotional Amoral Egoism": An Overview of the Theory

3.1  Human Motivation (A Specific Theory of Human Motivation)

3.1.1. General Self-interest
3.1.2. Fear, Pain and Grief
3.1.3. Ego, Pride and Reputation
3.1.4. Pleasure
3.1.5. Greed
3.1.6. Specific Individual Inclinations
3.1.7. Occasional Reason
3.1.8. Infrequent Reflection and Morality

3.2 Emotions

3.2.1. Universal Emotions
3.2.2. Our Emotional Repertoire

3.3 Genetic Make-up

3.3.1. DNA as the Product of Natural Selection
3.3.2. Genetic Inheritance

3.4 Heterogeneous Variations and Personality Traits

3.4.1. The Principle of Variation
3.4.2. Group/Kin Selection, Gene-centred Selection
3.4.3. Altruistic or Selfish Genes?
3.4.4. Sexual Selection
3.4.5. Personality Traits

3.5 Neurochemically Mediated

3.5.1. A Question of Chemistry
3.5.2. Addiction
3.5.3. Libido, Attraction and Attachment
3.5.4. Dissociative Behaviour

3.6 Environmental Influences

3.6.1. Personal State of Affairs, Upbringing and Education
3.6.2. Societal State of Affairs
3.6.3. Cultural State of Affairs
3.6.4. Global State of Affairs

3.7 Behavioural Modification

3.7.1. Personality Disorders, Medication and Psychotherapy
3.7.2. A Post-human Future?

3.8 Reflection and Morality

3.8.1. Reflection
3.8.2. Morality

4 Situating the General Theory of "Emotional Amoral Egoism"

5  The Universal Security Implications of the General Theory of "Emotional Amoral Egoism"

5.1 "Emotional Amoral Egoism" and International Relations Theory

5.1.1. Material Determinism: Passion and Social Relations of Production
5.1.2. Free Will through Reason and Social Construction
5.1.3. "Emotional Amoral Egoism" and International Relations

5.2 Globalisation, Identity Construction and the Implications of "Emotional Amoral Egoism"

5.2.1. Identity Construction
5.2.2. Identity in an Instant and Interdependent World
5.2.3. "Emotional Amoral Egoism" and Understanding Radicalism

5.3 Xenophobia and Ethnocentrism

5.3.1. Xenophobia
5.3.2. Ethnocentrism
5.3.3. "Emotional Amoral Egoism" and Its Implications for In-group Preference

5.4  "Emotional Amoral Egoism" and Its Implications for Understanding Conflict

5.4.1. Conflict at the Individual Level
5.4.2. "Emotional Amoral Egoism" and Conflict at the Individual Level
5.4.3. Intrastate Conflict
5.4.4. Approaches to Ethnic Conflict
5.4.5. The Implications of "Emotional Amoral Egoism" for Ethnic Conflict
5.4.6. Approaches to Interstate Conflict
5.4.7. The Implications of "Emotional Amoral Egoism" for Interstate Conflict
5.4.8. Conflict between Civilisations?

5.5 "Emotional Amoral Egoism" and the Boundaries of Moral Communities

5.5.1. The Origins of Moral Behaviour
5.5.2. Deepening and Widening Our Moral Communities

5.6 Global Governance: Challenges and Responses

5.6.1. Governance Challenges
5.6.2. Meeting Governance Challenges

6 Conclusions, Implications and Recommendations

Endorsement

"This ambitious and wide-ranging book offers both a synthesis of philosophical and scientific approaches to human nature and a strong plea for a set of universal human values. Its attraction lies in its forceful argument that the emotional aspects of human nature should be taken seriously if we are to design effective systems of political and moral cooperation, and that our political thinking needs to be inspired by the neuro-psychological consequences of our brain chemistry."

Professor Michael Freeden, Professor of Politics, Director of the Centre for Political Ideologies, Professorial Fellow, Mansfield College, Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom

Customer Reviews

Customer Reviews

Ezine Article on

‘emotional amoral egoism’

MASSIMO BENOCCI ARTICLE ON

"International security, could we also call it emotions?", L'Occidentale, posted 3rd July 2011.

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