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Beyond Self-Interest

A dramatic transformation has begun in the way scholars think about human nature. Political scientists, psychologists, economists, and evolutionary biologists are beginning to reject the view that human affairs are shaped almost exclusively by self-interest—a view that came to dominate social science in the last three decades.

In Beyond Self-Interest, leading social scientists argue for a view of individuals behavior and social organization that takes into account the powerful motivations of duty, love, and malevolence. Economists who go beyond "economic man," psychologists who go beyond stimulus-response, evolutionary biologists who go beyond the "selfish gene," and political scientists who go beyond the quest for power come together in this provocative and important manifesto.

The essays trace, from the ancient Greeks to the present, the use of self-interest to explain political life. They investigate the differences between self-interest and the motivations of duty and love, showing how these motivations affect behavior in "prisoners’ dilemma" interactions. They generate evolutionary models that explain how altruistic motivations escape extinction.

They suggest ways to model within one individual the separate motivations of public spirit and self-interest, investigate public spirit and self-interest, investigate public spirit in citizen and legislative behavior, and demonstrate that the view of democracy in existing Constitutional interpretations is not based on self-interest. They advance both human evil and mothering as alternatives to self-interest, this last in a penetrating feminist critique of the "contract" model of human interaction.

416 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1990

Political Science: Political and Social Theory

Table of Contents

Part I - Introduction
1. The Rise and Fall of Self-Interest in the Explanation of Political Life
Jane J. Mansbridge
Part II - Dimensions of the Problem
2. Rational Fools: A Critique of the Behavioral Foundations of Economic Theory
Amartya K. Sen
3. Selfishness and Altruism
Jon Elster
4. Varieties of Altruism
Christopher Jencks
Part III - An Ecological Niche for Altruism
5. A Theory of Moral Sentiments
Robert H. Frank
6. Cooperation for the Benefit of Us—Not Me, or My Conscience
Robyn M. Dawes, Alphons J. C. van de Kragt, and John M. Orbell
7. Culture and Cooperation
Robert Boyd and Peter J. Richerson
8. On the Relation of Altruism and Self-Interest
Jane J. Mansbridge
Part IV - Citizens
9. Self-Interest in Americans’ Political Opinions
David O. Sears and Carolyn L. Funk
10. Justice, Self-Interest, and the Legitimacy of Legal and Political Authority
Tom R. Tyler
Part V - Legislators
11. Deregulation and the Politics of Ideas in Congress
Paul J. Quirk
12. Congress and Public Spirit: A Commentary
Steven Kelman
Part VI - Constitutional Interpretation
13. Political Self-Interest in Constitutional Law
Cass R. Sunstein
Part VII - International Relations
14. Empathy and International Regimes
Robert O. Keohane
Part VIII - Modeling
15. Dual Utilities and Rational Choice
Howard Margolis
16. Expanding the Range of Formal Modeling
Jane J. Mansbridge
Part IX. Alternatives to Self-Interest, Malevolent and Benevolent
17. The Secret History of Self-Interest
Stephen Holmes
18. Mothering versus Contract
Virginia Held
Reference List
List of Contributors

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