Altruism Versus Self-Interest: Sometimes a False Dichotomy

Social Philosophy and Policy 10 (1):90-117 (1993)
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Abstract

In the moral philosophy of the last two centuries, altruism of one kind or another has typically been regarded as identical with moral concern. When self-regarding duties have been recognized, motivation by duty has been sharply distinguished from motivation by self-interest. I think this view is wrong: self-interest can be the motive of a moral act. My chief concern is to argue that self-interested action -- i.e., action motivated by rational self-interest -- can be moral, but the data I use to argue for this also provide compelling empirical evidence that all human motives do not reduce to self-interest, that altruism is possible.

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Neera K. Badhwar
University of Oklahoma

Citations of this work

Selflessness and the loss of self.Jean Hampton - 1993 - Social Philosophy and Policy 10 (1):135-65.
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References found in this work

Freedom of the will and the concept of a person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
The Rationality of Emotion.Ronald DE SOUSA - 1987 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 22 (4):302-303.
The Possibility of Altruism.John Benson - 1972 - Philosophical Quarterly 22 (86):82-83.
The Sovereignty of Good.Iris Murdoch - 1971 - Religious Studies 8 (2):180-181.

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