Self-Interest and Rationality: Introduction
Scholars have constantly debated the question of human nature and the forces that direct human action. The debate has comprised two distinct paradigms: the view that human action is primarily driven by considerations of self-interestself-interest, or the view that humans possess a benevolent nature that is attentive to the interests of others. An intellectual history of self-interest will naturally lead to a discussion of rationalityrationality, a concept that has gained singular predominance in modern social and economic thought. Part 4 examines the position of Islamic thought within this broader debate in the history of ideas. Specifically, we examine the Islamic position on the “invisible handinvisible hand” thesis and the relationship between private and public interests. We also survey its position with regards to efficiency, maximization, and economic rationality.