Evidence for Altruism: Toward a Pluralism of Prosocial Motives

Psychological Inquiry 2 (2):107-122 (1991)
Abstract
Psychologists have long assumed that the motivation for all intentional action, including all action intended to benefit others, is egoistic. People benefit others because, ultimately, to do so benefits themselves. The empathy-altruism hypothesis challenges this assumption. It claims that empathic emotion evokes truly altruistic motivation, motivation with an ultimate goal ofbenefiting not the self but the person for whom empathy is felt. Logical and psychological distinctions between egoism and altruism are reviewed, providing a conceptualframeworkfor empirical tests for the existence of altruism. Results of empirical tests to date are summarized; these results provide impressive support for the empathy-altruism hypothesis. We conclude that the popular and parsimonious explanation ofprosocial motivation in terms ofuniversal egoism must give way to a pluralistic explanation that includes altruism as well as egoism. Implications of such a pluralism are briefly noted, not only for our understanding ofprosocial motivation but also for our understanding of human nature and of the emotion-motivation link.
Keywords altruism  egoism  empathy
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 27,178
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
The Empathic Brain: How, When and Why?Frederique De Vignemont & Tania Singer - 2006 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 10 (10):435-441.
Against Empathy.Jesse Prinz - 2011 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (s1):214-233.
Relational Desires and Empirical Evidence Against Psychological Egoism.Joshua May - 2011 - European Journal of Philosophy 19 (1):39–58.

View all 25 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Psychological and Evolutionary Evidence for Altruism.Alejandro Rosas - 2002 - Biology and Philosophy 17 (1):93-107.
Unto Others: A Service... And a Disservice.C. Daniel Batson - 2000 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (1-2):207-210.
Egoism and Altruism.Bernard A. O. Williams - 1973 - In Problems of the Self. Cambridge University Press.
Altruism in Humans.C. Daniel Batson - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Relational Desires and Empirical Evidence Against Psychological Egoism.Joshua May - 2011 - European Journal of Philosophy 19 (1):39–58.
Experimental Tests for the Existence of Altruism.C. Daniel Batson - 1992 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:69 - 78.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-03-19

Total downloads

310 ( #9,535 of 2,163,689 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

23 ( #15,340 of 2,163,689 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums