Internationale Konferenz 2019

International Conference:
"The Depth of the Self - Implicit Motives and Human Flourishing"

Together with the TUM School of Management the Munich School for Philosophy is engaging in an interdisciplinary research project for three years funded by TRT and entitled “Motivational and Volitional Processes of Human Integration: Philosophical and Psychological Approaches to Human Flourishing”. This psychological and philosophical cooperation is conducted by the Chair of Philosophy and Motivation led by Prof. Dr. Godehard Brüntrup SJ and the Chair of Psychology led by Prof. Dr. Hugo Kehr. 

The question of what it means to lead a good life and how to achieve this has been of central interest throughout the history of philosophy. Often, proposals revolve around the idea that for flourishing integration of mental states and actions is of central importance: the flourishing person does not ‘just act’, but has developed a view of what the good life is and her states and actions are integrated and contribute to achieving this aim.

In this conference we aim to take the question of human flourishing and how it can be achieved one step further. Importantly, theories of human flourishing and integration generally ignore the issue that some motives are implicit, which introduces an interesting challenge for these views on human flourishing. Implicit motives are taken to be motives we are unaware of, that are not consciously accessible and available for reflection, and yet they do influence what we do.  Furthermore, the suggestion is that these implicit motives are difficult to change and develop early in life. In contrast, explicit motives develop much later and are taken to be easier to change, for example because they can be reflected on and are taken to be the result of reasoning processes. Accepting this and holding the view that integrated mental states and actions are taken to be necessary for flourishing confronts us with a dilemma. On the one hand, this suggests that human flourishing is about finding out what your implicit motives are, and bringing your explicit motives in line with these. Some claim that this is a correct view: implicit motives are more intimately connected to the self and they reflect what a person ‘really’ wants. On the other hand, however, research suggests that implicit motives are states we happen to have developed in early childhood, they are not available for reflection, and therefore cannot explicitly endorsed or rejected. This implies that these implicit motives are states we lack control over and are not at all about what we (rationally) take to be the best way to live our lives.

This tension between the role of implicit motives in what we do and what they are like on the one hand and integration of mental states and actions as a necessary condition of human flourishing on the other is what we aim to explore during this conference.


Prof. Dr. Godehard Brüntrup SJ, Munich School of Philosophy

Dr. Ludwig Jaskolla, Munich School of Philosophy

Assistant: Felix Beuing (

This interdisciplinary conference is part of the project "Motivational and Volitional Processes of Human Integration" funded by the Templeton Religion Trust.

It is supported by the Erich J. Lejeune Chair for Philosophy and Motivation.


Thursday, August 1st 2019 until Sunday, August 3rd 2019


Burkardus House in Würzburg (Link)