Altruism (Concepts in the Social Sciences) - download pdf or read online

By Niall Scott, Jonathan Seglow

ISBN-10: 0335222498

ISBN-13: 9780335222490

ISBN-10: 0335222501

ISBN-13: 9780335222506

Comprensive exam of analysis and concept. This publication will saticefy either the pro and well known reader. this isn't pop psychology yet a significant exam of an imporant behavioral thought. the pro neighborhood may benefit significantly from an exam of its empirical and theoretical parts. the final reader, with a style for critical behavioral idea will achieve substantial perception into a major portion of human habit. A not easy yet stress-free learn for either varieties of reader.

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Extra info for Altruism (Concepts in the Social Sciences)

Sample text

Am I motivated to benefit someone, because of what I might get in return? If so, I could hardly claim to be an altruist (after all, such exchanges characterize most market transactions). We can distinguish here between reciprocity that depends on conditions of reasonable exchange, and reciprocity that is by contrast incidental to the giving act. In the first case, a company might, for example, agree to giving money to a charity as long as the charity puts the company’s logo on all its future promotions as ‘free’ advertising.

The idea is that impartiality only applies at the second-order, there is no requirement that people exhibit first-order impartiality. First-order partiality involves the ordinary, perhaps mundane, range of choices that occur regularly in human existence. It is perfectly acceptable that some of our daily decisions will be partial. Indeed, when we think, for example, of parents’ preference for looking after their own children, it is hard to understand how they could not be. Thus first-order impartiality gives agents some room to promote their own interests, as well as those of others they are close to.

What Kant is challenging is the inability of any human to be independent in this way. Kant assumes that humans are not disposed to living in isolation from others, or even capable of living such a life. No one can satisfy their goals, aspirations and needs in solitude, and hence it would be irrational to adopt universal non-beneficence as a law. This seems fairly uncontentious. We need help and assistance from others and altruism is an important component of this. It is interesting here that Kant in his political writings recognizes a psychological tension in human behaviour, which may be familiar to the reader’s experience: people often desire both solitude and sociability.

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Altruism (Concepts in the Social Sciences) by Niall Scott, Jonathan Seglow


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