A part of a book.
Altruism - a philosophical analysis
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John Wiley & Sons Ltd,
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Altruism is a malleable notion that is understood differently in various disciplines. The common denominator of most definitions of altruism is the idea of unidirectional helping behaviour. However, a closer examination reveals that the term altruism sometimes refers to the outcomes of a helping behaviour for the agent and its neighbours - i.e. reproductive altruism - and sometimes to what motivates the agent to help others - i.e. psychological altruism. Since these perspectives on altruism are crucially different, it is important to use a clear terminology to avoid confusion. In particular, we show that the notion of altruism used by biologists profoundly differs from the ones used by philosophers, psychologists and economists in cross-disciplinary debates about human altruism.
altruism, helping, kin selection, Hamilton's rule, human altruism, motivation, proximate versus ultimate explanation, psychological altruism, reproductive altruism, weak altruism
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