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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Book Review - Emotional Amoral Egoism by Dr Nayef R F Al-Rodham

Book Review
Sustainable History
"emotional amoral egoism"
A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications
by Dr Nayef R F Al-Rodhan

About the Author 
Nayef Al-RodhanDr. Nayef Al-Rodhan is a Philosopher, Neuroscientist and Geostrategist.  He is Senior Member of St. Antony’s College at Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom and Senior Scholar in Geostrategy and Director of the Geopolitics of Globalisation and Transnational Security Programme at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Geneva, Switzerland.  He holds an M.D. and a Ph.D. He trained in neurosurgery/neuroscience research at the Mayo Clinic, Yale University and Harvard University.

He founded the neurotechnology programme, headed translational research and founded the laboratory for cellular neurosurgery and neurosurgical technology at MGH, Harvard. He was on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School, has published extensively on neuroscience research and won several research prizes. These Prizes include: The Sir James Spence Prize; The Gibb Prize; The Farquhar-Murray Prize; The American Association of Neurological Surgeon Poster Prize (twice); The Meninger Prize; The Annual Resident Prize of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons; The Young Investigator Prize of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons; The Annual Fellowship Prize of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Book Description
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.

Our Book Review
An extremely well researched and informative book into what constitutes not just what makes us think the way we do but also the way we act.  The author uses clear and concise explanations and illustrations to explain his theories and to back up his statements.

An excellent study book which you need to read in a quiet or undisturbed room to fully appreciate and understand.  In certain parts the text may need reading a couple of times.  Students of psychology or philosophy must read this book to help further their learning.

I especially enjoyed the introduction and beginning of the book as the author uses famous philosophers to explain our behaviours and ideas with reasoned and balanced logic, he follows this by describing factors and/or influences that can have an impact on how we behave or react.

The second part of the book deals in more depth of how these factors and influences affect our way of thinking and how it is difficult for humans to change our nature or beliefs and offers theories on how we can change.

This is the second book that I have read by this particular author and this again did not disappoint, the area of mind and brain and its workings have been a mystery for centuries and this books goes a long way to answering or offering solutions to those questions.

"Humankind is conceived as primarily motivated by neurochemically mediated emotions resulting from genetic make-up and environmental influences, employing reason and engaging in conscious reflection only occasionally." 

Our Rating


  1. This book looks pretty deep but I'm guessing this is just the kind of deep meat that philosphers or deep thinkers need to delve into!

  2. I am reminded of Ayn Rand when you describe the philosophy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.



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