Religion Past and Present

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Self-interest
(343 words)

[German Version]

The concept of “interest” in its civil and economic sense is rooted in Roman law (indemnification, benefit, advantage, value). Extended to include political action and its goals, in the 16th century it became a general designation of the motives governing the actions of competing individuals or collectives pursuing the goal of their own advantage. Finally (since T. Hobbes) it became the designation of the natural motivation of all possible action, with the goal of the actant’s self-preservation. Late Scholasticism and Christian moral philosophy questioned…

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Herms, Eilert, “Self-interest”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 16 December 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1877-5888_rpp_SIM_10488>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013



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