|Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan|
|Occupation||Philosopher, Neuroscientist, Geostrategist, and Author|
Nayef Al-Rodhan ,M.D., Ph.D, is a philosopher, neuroscientist, geostrategist, and author. He is a Senior Member of St. Antony’s College at Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom., Senior Scholar in Geostrategy and Director of the Programme on the Geopolitics of Globalisation and Transnational Security at the Geneva Center for Security Policy, Geneva, Switzerland.
Nayef Al-Rodhan began his career as a neurosurgeon and neuroscientist. As a medical student, he was mentored and influenced by the renowned neurologist, Lord John Walton of Detchant. He trained in neurosurgery and conducted neuroscience research at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota in the United States. He became Chief Resident in neurosurgery and was influenced by Dr. Thoralf M. Sundt, Dr. David Piepgrass, and Dr. Patrick J Kelly At the Mayo Clinic and obtained a Ph.D. for his work on the Characterization of Opioid and Neurotensin Receptor Subtypes in the Brain with Respect to Antinociception.
In 1993, on a fellowship from the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, he joined the Department of neurosurgery at the Yale University School of Medicine as a Fellow in epilepsy surgery and molecular neuroscience under the direction of Dr. Dennis Spencer.
In 1994, Nayef Al-Rodhan became a Fellow at the Department of Neurosurgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard Medical School, where he worked on the study of neuropeptides, molecular genetics, and neuronal regeneration. In 1995, he was appointed to the faculty of the Harvard Medical School and while at Harvard and the Massachusetts General Hospital, he founded the Neurotechnology Program with Nobel Prize winner Dr. James E. Muller. Working with Dr. Robert Martuza, Nayef Al-Rodhan also founded the Laboratories for Cellular Neurosurgery and Neurosurgical Technology at the Department of Neurosurgery of the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
Nayef Al-Rodhan has received the following research awards: Sir James Spence Prize, the Gibb Prize, the Farquhar-Murray Prize, the American Association of Neurological Surgeon Prize (twice), the Meninger Prize, the Annual Resident Prize of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the Young Investigator Prize of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, and the Annual Fellowship Prize of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.
Neuroscience and International Relations
Since 2002, Nayef Al-Rodhan shifted his scholarly focus to the interplay between neuroscience and international relations. Through several publications, he has pioneered the application of neuroscience and the neuro-behavioural consequences of the neurochemical and cellular mechanisms that underpin emotions, amorality, egoisms, fear, greed, and dominance, into the analysis and conceptualization of trends in contemporary geopolitics, global security, national security, transcultural security, and war and peace.
In 2006, Nayef Al-Rodhan joined the Geneva Center for Security Policy in Geneva, Switzerland, as a Senior Scholar in geostrategy and Director of the Geopolitics of Globalisation and Transnational Security Programme. In 2009, Nayef Al-Rodhan became a Senior Member of St. Antony’s College, Oxford University where he analyses, amongst other things, critical turning points in the Arab-Islamic world and their current and future regional and global geopolitical relevance. His current geostrategy interests include: Geopolitics of the Middle East; sustainable national and global security; geopolitics of outer space and strategic technologies; and global strategic cascading risks. His philosophical interests include:global justice; human dignity and international order; shared history of humanity and transcultural security and synergy; philosophy of sustainable history and the dignityof man; history of ideas; neurophilosophy of human nature and its implications for war, peace and moral and political cooperation between ideologies, states and cultures.
Philosophy of Human Nature: "emotional amoral egoism" Nayef Al-Rodhan published his neuro-chemically based theory of human nature in 2008. In this, he argues that the enduring assumption that human behaviour is governed by innate morality and reason is at odds with the persistence of human deprivation, injustice, brutality, inequality and conflict. He draws on a wide range of philosophical, psychological and evolutionary approaches to human nature as well as neuroscientific research. He argues that human behaviour is governed primarily by "emotional self-interest" and that the human mind is a "predisposed tabula rasa". Al-Rodhan argues that "most human beings are innately neither moral nor immoral but rather amoral and that circumstances and needs will determine the survival value of humankind's moral compass". He suggests that this has profound implications for the re-ordering of governance mechanisms at all levels with a strong emphasis on the role of society and the global system in relation to stability, security, peace, cooperation, justice, human security, identity construction, transcultural relations, conflict, ethnocentrism, xenophobia, morality and global governance. Al-Rodhan’s theory of human nature challenges the views of Hobbes and Rousseau and lays the foundation for a hopeful and pragmatic approach. It also advocates that the moral compass of man can be influenced positively by constructive behaviors of the society and its various mechanisms and frameworks. He also proposes a concept he calls “Fear-Induced Pre-emptive aggression” and cautions us against being complacent about the virtues of human nature. This book is entitled: "emotional amoral egoism": A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications (Berlin, LIT, 2008).
Commenting on this book, Professor Michael Frieden from Oxford University said: "This ambitious and wide-ranging book offers both a synthesis of philosophical and scientific approaches to human nature and a strong plea for a set of universal human values. Its attraction lies in its forceful argument that the emotional aspects of human nature should be taken seriously if we are to design effective systems of political and moral cooperation, and that our political thinking needs to be inspired by the neuro-psychological consequences of our brain chemistry."
International Relations Theory: "Symbiotic Realism" In 2007, Dr. Nayef Al-Rodhan published his symbiotic realism theory of international relations  that best fits a connected, interdependent and globalized world. Symbiotic realism expands the number of unitary actors in global politics beyond state and non-state actors and allows for non-conflictual competition while allowing absolute gain in a symbiotic yet realist framework. Symbiotic realism theory also posits that international peace and security can only be attained through a governance structure that ensures a mutually beneficial (Symbiotic) coexistence for a myriad of actors as well as the fulfilment of human needs everywhere. The book is entitled: Symbiotic Realism: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World (Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2007).
Commenting on this book, Ambassador Theodor Winkler of the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of the Armed Forces (DCAF), said: "This is a rich, thoroughly researched, and masterly book that pushes the theory of international relations significantly forward by integrating such important aspects as gender, climate change, access to natural resources, culture, and civilization to the existing conceptual body. It is marked by a deep humanity and cultural tolerance - as well as much common sense. In short: an important contribution to the international debate.".
Diplomacy and Geostrategy: "Neo-statecraft and Meta-geopolitics" In 2009, Dr. Nayef Al-Rodhan proposed the concept of "Meta-geopolitics". The Meta-Geopolitics paradigm proposes a multi-dimensional view of power that accounts for seven capacities of states and assess their relative strengths and weaknesses and enables predictions about their ability to project power. This also includes his concept of "Just Power" as the only sustainable kind of power in the service of the national interest. “Just Power” employs soft, hard and smart power tools. He also proposes a geostrategic "Trip-Wire Pivotal Corridor (TPC)" which accounts for the world’s most volatile geopolitical area: a corridor that runs from north to south between 30 and 75 degrees east. The corridor includes countries from three continents: Africa, Europe and Asia as well as the pivotal Middle East. In the east, it incorporates the disputed territories of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as China’s Xinjiang province. At its western edge, it includes the Horn of Africa and the entire east coast of Africa. The corridor also includes the Arctic Circle in the north and Antarctica in the south. Al-Rodhan argued that, without stability in the TPC, there can be no stability or cooperation at the international level. This book is entitled Neo-statecraft and Meta-Geopolitics: Reconciliation of Power, Interests and Justice in the 21st Century (Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2009).
Commenting on this book, Professor, François Géré, Director of Research at Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle and President of the French Institute for Strategic Analysis (IFAS), Paris, France, said: "This book offers a refreshing and ambitious re-examination of the nature of statecraft and geopolitics and contains a number of relevant concepts that can be translated into brand-new research and ambitious policy goals. Building on a number of his previous concepts, the author continues a remarkable endeavour aimed at updating and adapting traditional geopolitical perceptions. Step by step, brick after brick, the author is clearly building a major comprehensive contribution to strategic thinking and diplomacy."
Ambassador Rolf Ekéus, Chairman of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Stockholm, Sweden, also said: "This book provides a carefully crafted description of how the international system is being transformed and defines the challenges facing contemporary statecraft in handling that transformation. Nayef Al-Rodhan has undertaken this enormous task by defining the concept of meta-geopolitics and addressing potential future problems while making full use of the analytical tools that he has developed. It is a unique and intellectually courageous undertaking that will help us gain deeper insights into the many dimensions of current and future security challenges."
Philosophy of History: Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man In 2009, Dr. Nayef Al-Rodhan also published his Philosophy of history , in which he discusses the role of good governance and the ever-present tension between (human nature attributes) and (human dignity needs) in the sustainability of history and that of any political order. In this book, he advocates his concept of "Civilizational Triumphalism through his "Ocean Model of One Human Civilization". He also insists that the attainment of dignity for all, at all times and under all circumstances, is what drives/propels human history and ensure its sustainability. In this, Nayef Al-Rodhan suggests that "a good governance paradigm that limits excesses of human nature and ensures an atmosphere of happiness and productivity by promoting reason and dignity is required". This book is entitled Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man: A Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph (Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2009).
Commenting on this book, President Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States said: "Dr. Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan challenges us to grapple with the meaning of history and how it could lead to the improvement of the human condition. This book presents his views on how a sustainable history based on human dignity could be achieved. In his opinion, this requires good governance, based on “reason, security, human rights, accountability, transparency, justice, opportunity, innovation and inclusiveness.” I agree, and I hope that the path laid out in this book attracts many followers."
Lord Giddens of Southgate, UK House of Lords and Former President of London School of Economics also said: "No-one seeking to understand the modern condition can afford to ignore Dr Al-Rodhan's inspiring book, a profound analysis of the core values around which effective global governance can be built and sustained."
Theory of Knowledge: "Neuro-rational Physicalism" Dr. Nayef Al-Rodhan also proposed a Theory of knowledge called, "Neuro-rational Physicalism NRP". Al-Rodhan's theory of knowledge recognises the role of interpretation, sense-data and reason in the acquisition of knowledge and that knowledge is to some extent indeterminate. He suggests that knowledge may also be temporally, spatially and perhaps culturally constrained and that all energy and matter are physical, even if unobservable with our current technologies and knowhow, making their existence "possible truths subject to proof". He adds that emotional acts, cognition and all other thought processes are also physical and, as such, material. This was included in his philosophy of history book Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man: A Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph (Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2009).
Global Security Paradigm: "The Multi-Sum Security Principle" Dr. Nayef Al-Rodhan advocated a "Multi-Sum Security Principle" that promotes win-win cooperative security interactions between states and cultures based on global justice. This principle insists that the promotion of global justice should be central to global politics, not for altruistic reasons, but in order to achieve sustainable interests of states and cultures. This book is entitled The Five Dimensions of Global Security: Proposal for a Multi-sum Security Principle (Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2007).
Politics of Emerging Strategic Technologies: "Inevitable Transhumanism" Dr. Nayef Al-Rodhan proposed his concept of "Inevitable Transhumanism", where he argues that human enhancement and the future evolution into transhumans is inevitable. He suggests that this is so because of our own human nature attributes namely (emotionality, amorality and egoism) that will inevitably push us towards that end. To prepare for these potential existential threats, Nayef Al-Rodhan calls on the global community to urgently establish strict moral and legal guidelines that balance the need for innovation with the guarantee of dignity for all. In addition to human enhancement, he also analyses the interplay between emerging strategic technologies, geopolitics and national power in the same book. The book is entitled The Politics of Emerging Strategic Technologies: Implications for Geopolitics, Human Enhancement and Human Destiny (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
Commenting on this book, Dr. James Lewis, Director and Senior Fellow, Technology and Public Policy Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies(CSIS), Washington, D.C., United States, said: "This is a fascinating account of the interplay of new technologies and national power. It goes beyond mechanistic estimates to explore social and political consequences of a world reshaped by technological change. The discussion of human enhancement through drugs or genetic manipulation is engrossing and raises new and difficult problems, both political and ethical, for what will soon be a very different world. The scope of the book, with its discussion of a full range of new technologies of consequences, makes it unique and insightful as a guide to one of the fundamental forces that will reshape international politics."
Professor Giovanni De Micheli, Director of the Electrical Engineering Institute and Integrated Systems Centre at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland, also said:"This book takes a broad look at emerging technologies and their role in enabling humanity to further its evolution. Nayef Al-Rodhan comprehensively addresses the key trends of these strategic technologies and the highly relevant geopolitical and strategic implications. Within this framework, he highlights the need for setting transnational policies in place to ensure ubiquitous human dignity and the freedom to choose our own destiny. This study is a scientific and breathtaking voyage into the future that will enchant the reader and encourage society to meditate on our human nature and subsequent responsibilities."
Potential Global Strategic Catastrophes: Balancing Transnational Responsibilities and Burden-sharing with Sovereignty and Human Dignity, Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan (ed), (Berlin: LIT, 2009), ISBN 3643800045; ISBN 978-3643800046
Nayef Al-Rodhan, Lisa Watanabe, “Le déficit de dignité collective et le futur du monde arabe,” Le Monde.FR., April 5, 2011.
Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, “Local Culture and History,” Letters to the International Herald Tribune, International Herald Tribune, November 20, 2009.
Fred Tanner, Nayef Al-Rodhan and Sunjay Chandiramani, GCSP Geneva Paper 9, Security Strategies Today: Trends and Perspectives, GCSP Geneva Papers, November, 2009.
Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, “Multi-sum Security: Five Distinct Dimensions,” Safeguarding Security in Turbulent Times - ISN Special Report, May 2009.
Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, “Editorial of GCSP Policy Brief No. 1, Information Technology, Terrorism, and Global Security,” GCSP Policy Brief Series, Program on the Geopolitical Implications of Globalization and Transnational Security, June 19, 2006.
Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, T. Sundt, D. Piepgras, D. Nichols, D. Rβfenacht and L. Stevens, “Occlusive Hyperemia: A Theory for the Hemodynamic Complications Following Resection of Intracerebral Arteriovenous Malformations,” Journal of Neurosurgery, Vol. 78, No. 2, February 1993.
T.L. Yaksh, Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan and E. Mjanger, “Sites of Action of Opiates in Production of Analgesia,” in L. Kaufman (ed.), Anasthesia Review 5 (London: Churchill Livingstone, 1988), pp. 254 – 268.
T.L. Yaksh, Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan and T.S. Jensen, “Sites of Action of Opiates in Production of Analgesia,” in H.L. Fields and J.M. Bensson (eds.), Progress in Brain Research, Vol. 77 (Elsevier Science Publishers B.V., 1988), pp. 371 – 393. Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, D. Piepgras and T. Sundt, “Transitional Cavernous Aneurysms of the Internal Cartoid Artery,” Neurosurgery, Vol. 33, Issue 6, December 1993, pp. 993 – 998.
R.A. Bronen, R.K. Fulbright, J.H. Kim, S.S. Spencer, D.D. Spencer and Nayef R. Al-Rodhan, “Regional Distribution of MR Findings in Hippocampal Sclerosis,” American Journal of Neuroradiology, Vol. 16, Issue 6, 1995, pp. 1193–1200.
- US Today
- St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford
- Yale Epilepsy Program
- Harvard Medical School
- American Chronicle
- The Evian Group
- The Northern Times
- Sustainable history
- American Chronicle
- St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford
- Sustainable History
- The Evian Group
- American Chronicle
- Emotional Amoral Egoism
- Review of ‘emotional amoral egoism’ on Bookpleasures
- American Chronicle
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