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To Flourish or DestructA Personalist Theory of Human Goods, Motivations, Failure, and Evil$
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Christian Smith

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226231952

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226232003.001.0001

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On Basic Human Goods, Interests, and Motivations

On Basic Human Goods, Interests, and Motivations

(p.159) 5 On Basic Human Goods, Interests, and Motivations
To Flourish or Destruct

Christian Smith

University of Chicago Press

This chapter attempts to answer the following questions: Among the innumerable real motivations that cause humans to engage in actions, are there any that can rightly be said to be basic? Are some motivations more fundamental or original, in relation to which others are derivative or secondary? Can human motivations be arranged in a hierarchy according to how central or primary they are? And, if so, which specific motivations are most central or basic? After focusing on multiple theories that develop proposed needs, drives, desires, interests, capabilities, or goods that motivate action, and identifying common themes and concepts, the author advances his own argument, which is that human persons are most basically motivated to achieve their basic human interests, to enjoy what they think are their basic human goods. The chapter also establishes six distinct, basic, natural, universal human goods and interests that motivate human persons to action and that are grounded in the ontological natural of human personhood and the given human condition in this world.

Keywords:   basic human good, basic human interest, basic human motivation, critical realism, culture, human nature, ontology, personalism, social institutions, social structures

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