Historians Take Note: Motivation = Emotion

Diogenes 51 (3):19-25 (2004)
The article focuses on motivation, proposing the equation in its title and opposing the contrary view, that what moves people to action is the rational calculation of their material interests. The latter view is most familiar in economics, where it was for generations seen as the best (meaning, most ‘scientific’) mode of explanation. It had a great deal of influence on historiography and found a great deal of support among psychologists also. From these three areas of research it is being challenged, however, even to some extent displaced, in recent decades. The importance of emotions or feelings in explaining behavior is increasingly acknowledged, and the validity of conclusions reached about feelings in historical contexts through the operation of empathy. Illustrations of how this works can be easily supplied
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DOI 10.1177/0392192104043647
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