Man will only become better when you make him see what he is like. (Anton Chekhov). The levels of sophistication of science to date might not. Emotional amoral egoism is a neuro-chemically based theory of human naturedeveloped by the neuroscientist and philosopher Nayef Al-Rodhan and published. In Napoleon Bonaparte, at the heights of his power, set out for the most adventurous, and ultimately fatal, military campaign. Napoleon’s Grand Army of.

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Who are we: Neurochemical man and emotional amoral egoism – OxPol

Much of the IR dogma across paradigms, envisages states action and reaction on the international scene through a limited range of purposes. The significance of individual, emotionally-driven acts, however, is not limited to negative cases of those responsible for wars or atrocities. Furthermore, some negative traits are often inflated to maximal levels, especially in contexts where there are few or no checks-and-balance systems in place to keep leaders restrained. The means of achieving this is surprisingly simple, yet it remains a persistent challenge: Strategic Culture Constructivism pointed to the different perceptions and historically-entrenched identities emotinal belie a simplistic premise of rationality under which states always act for their survival or to maximize their power.

Neuroscience can and should inform policy-making because emotioal can help us understand human nature with more insight than ever before. In contrast, for Hobbes, in the state of nature man was intrinsically self-interested, acting for his egoims well-being and in a manner strictly determined by natural, pre-existent desires and needs to avoid discomfort.

While there is grain of truth in a number of these accounts, contemporary research, and neuroscientific insights in particular, adequately demonstrates amoal both of these extremes distort what is in fact the case, and that both share a common mistake: Neuroscience has debunked many assumptions about human nature in recent decades.


The understanding that dignity is critical in transforming the planet, from tackling global poverty to protecting the environment, is underscored by a fundamental premise, which is that at the centre of any governance mechanism are people.

Man will only become better when you make him see what he is amoarl.

Dignity must be the underlying objective of any policy emltional humanity to move further. However, this paradigm has been substantively challenged by contemporary philosophers, who have reached significant consensus in acknowledging the role of emotions.

The supposition of additional innate ideas, however, and in particular the advocacy of an innate morality is demonstrably false given the tendency of moral development to vary widely but predictably with regard to background conditions: Societal State of Affairs 3. The amoral egoism of states States, as humans, are of course egoistic and survival-oriented, pursuing self-interest and self-serving actions. The trouble with this classical formulation is twofold. For further emphasis, Hitler ordered the armistice to be signed in the same railway wagon in which the previous armistice had been signed.

I will first discuss emotionality and how emotions shape, sabotage or hijack certain political processes, and then examine amoral egoism as an alternate lens to analyze state behaviour.

While not all conflict can be straightforwardly attributed to failures to achieve models of governance that prioritize human dignity, it is symptomatic of human nature that the likelihood of conflict will increase when this fundamental need is neglected. Rather than choosing between dichotomous notions of moral vs.

Emotional Amoral Egoism

The Origins of Moral Behaviour 5. Nationalistic rave harboured within collective groups has often found expression in symbolic gestures. Again, insights in neurochemistry bring different perspectives about human behaviour and moral development, challenging previous theories about morality in society and in the international arena.


As I have written before, power is addictive and manifests at neurochemical level through a reward circuitry of dopamine flow, the same transmitter responsible for producing a sense of pleasure. Today, neuroscience provides further grounds for looking at the interplay between emotions, decision-making, political ideologies, peace-buildingand leadership.

Hubris is exaggerated pride, often combined with arrogance. The discussions have also often oscillated between polar contrasts, presenting human nature as either fundamentally good or bad.

Neurochemical man egosm emotional amoral egoism. The goal of national sovereignty and survival is arguably the only immutable goal of any nation, and the only one that resists domestic turnovers and transitions in international affairs. However, the range of moral choices and actions are more diverse as material and idiosyncratic circumstances complicate state biases and actions.

Dignity is the best predictor of a successful outcome in governance because it is in itself a more inclusive concept. Neuroscience also points to the incredible plasticity and malleability of the human brain and human dispositions.

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The same neuroscientific research demonstrates not only that rationality cannot be the common moral denominator among all human beings, but that there simply is no such common denominator, morally speaking. Since at least Plato, this picture, which idealizes those with the greatest rational self-mastery, has been held up as the ideal. Both at intrastate and inter-states levels, habits play critical roles in mitigating uncertainty, providing a sense of order etoism entrenching patterns of cooperation or enmity.

The origins of this debate go back to antiquity and various cultures and religions, and relatively recently to Rousseau and Hobbes. Romantic belief therefore dismissed excessive rationalism.