“Motivation for Human Excellence: Is Infinite Utility the Trigger?” by Mitradutta Mohapatra (5 Mar)

The very notion of ‘Infinite Utility’ has always been eclipsed with dubious philosophical credentials. The term ‘Infinite’ is extremely loaded and therefore, one is generally advised to use the word with enough care and caution. In this paper, I shall try to examine the driving force behind the motivation for exemplary human excellence. Human and philosophical history has shown us time and again that the force that drives an agent on the path of extra-ordinary excellence carries a sort of resolve that is beyond human comprehension. What is the motivation that makes Jesus seek divine pardon for his adversaries at the time of his crucification? How can an Ibn Arabi at the face of the hard-coded canon laws of Islam, spread the message of supreme love, consistently throughout his life, unafraid of the likely violent repercussions? What motivates Buddha to be uniquely consistent throughout his life with his exemplary practice and message of supreme human conduct? What is driving this motivation? Is there a case to examine whether at the core of such motivation does lie the concept of ‘Infinite Utility’? Using the analytic techniques of decision theory, I would argue that there possibly remains a case prima facie.

Graduate Seminar Series.
Date: Tuesday, 5 Mar 2013
Time: 2pm – 4pm
Venue: Philosophy Resource Room (AS3 #05-23)
Speaker: Mitradutta Mohapatra, PhD Student

Mitradutta Mohapatra holds an MA from University of Mumbai and he is exposed to both Indian and Western philosophical traditions. He is keen to look at various aspects of moral philosophy and more particularly, his interest lies in ‘applied ethics’. His current research interest at NUS is to have a closer look at the evolution of compliance governance in the contemporary business world and examine its compatibility with the ethical theories and the traditional tenets of human morality.