European Journal of Philosophy 19 (1):39–58 (2011)

Authors
Joshua May
University of Alabama, Birmingham
Abstract
Roughly, psychological egoism is the thesis that all of a person's intentional actions are ultimately self-interested in some sense; psychological altruism is the thesis that some of a person's intentional actions are not ultimately self-interested, since some are ultimately other-regarding in some sense. C. Daniel Batson and other social psychologists have argued that experiments provide support for a theory called the "empathy-altruism hypothesis" that entails the falsity of psychological egoism. However, several critics claim that there are egoistic explanations of the data that are still not ruled out. One of the most potent criticisms of Batson comes from Elliott Sober and David Sloan Wilson. I argue for two main theses in this paper: (1) we can improve on Sober and Wilson’s conception of psychological egoism and altruism, and (2) this improvement shows that one of the strongest of Sober and Wilson's purportedly egoistic explanations is not tenable. A defense of these two theses goes some way toward defending Batson‘s claim that the evidence from social psychology provides sufficient reason to reject psychological egoism.
Keywords egoism  altruism  empathy
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1468-0378.2009.00379.x
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
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

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
The Possibility of Altruism.Thomas Nagel - 1970 - Oxford Clarendon Press.
The Possibility of Altruism.John Benson - 1972 - Philosophical Quarterly 22 (86):82-83.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind.Joshua May - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
Moral Psychology: Empirical Approaches.John Doris & Stephen Stich - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Egoism, Empathy, and Self-Other Merging.Joshua May - 2011 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (s1):25-39.
Egoism.Robert Shaver - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

What Truth is There in Psychological Egoism?Charles Sayward - 2006 - Facta Philosophica 8 (1-2):145-159.
Unto Others: A Service... And a Disservice.C. Daniel Batson - 2000 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (1-2):207-210.
Psychological and Evolutionary Evidence for Altruism.Alejandro Rosas - 2002 - Biology and Philosophy 17 (1):93-107.
Psychological Egoism.Joshua May - 2011 - Internet Encyclopeida of Philosophy.
Egoism.Alexander Moseley - 2005 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Psychological Egoism and Its Critics.Mark Mercer - 1998 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 36 (4):557-576.
Altruism.Stephen Stich, John M. Doris & Erica Roedder - 2010 - In John M. Doris & The Moral Psychology Research Group (eds.), The Moral Psychology Handbook. Oxford University Press.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-04-28

Total views
1,366 ( #3,912 of 2,504,596 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
63 ( #13,025 of 2,504,596 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes