Are We Hardwired for Empathy?

Is human nature predominately driven by empathy or by self-interest?

Adam Smith postulated in The Theory of Moral Sentiments that people are both benevolent and self-interested. They are most benevolent to their family, close friends, and local communities. In a complex society, however, Smith believed that benevolence as a motivation becomes limited. He saw the market as a socially useful way to coordinate society by exchange motivated from self-interest. Since Smith, the role of self-interest in explaining the direction of human history has dominated.

Can an alternate narrative—perhaps one rooted in empathy—be deployed to create a more benevolent social context on a global scale?


December 19, 2012 | No Comments (yet!)

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