The appeal to self-interest as the ultimate form of explanation has seen attacks from many directions: within moral and political theory as well as in empirical research in psychology, primatology, economics, and neurobiology. Why, then, does the self-interest model continues to dominate much of academic discourse as well as popular culture? By exploring the ways in which consciousness of human motivation has changed since the 19th century, we hope to show that the self-interest model is itself a historically contingent product of particular cultural forces. Our ultimate aim is to undermine the tyranny of the model and hence to contribute to the validation of non-reductive moral discourse.
Concept: Susan Neiman, Potsdam
Participants: Breyten Breytenbach, Gorée; Lorraine Daston, Berlin; Robert H. Frank, Ithaca; Ute Frevert, Berlin; Mischa Gabowitsch, Potsdam; Konstanty Gebert, Warschau; Stephen Holmes, New York; Eva Illouz, Jerusalem; T.J. Jackson Lears, New Brunswick; James Marentette, Kitchener; Christian Scholz, Saarbrücken; Jonathan Shay, Boston; Frans de Waal, Atlanta