Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Paradox of GenerosityGiving We Receive, Grasping We Lose$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199394906

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199394906.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 04 July 2022

How Generosity Enhances Well-Being

How Generosity Enhances Well-Being

(p.46) Chapter 2 How Generosity Enhances Well-Being
The Paradox of Generosity

Beaster-Christian Smith

Hilary Davidson

Oxford University Press

The second chapter turns to the crucial issue of cause and effect. Does generosity actually increase well-being or, rather, is it prior well-being that produces more generosity? It may be, some skeptics will suspect, that generosity does not itself enhance well-being. Rather, they might believe, happier, healthier, and more purposeful people simply tend to behave more generously, because those kinds of people have more energy, vision, and physical capacity to be generous than unhappy, unhealthy, purposeless people. Chapter 2 demonstrates that causality runs in both directions, and outlines nine central mechanisms. Greater well-being indeed often facilitates generosity. But, at the same time, generosity also enhances well-being. It does so through specific causal mechanisms that we can understand, explain, and test. This chapter also includes four ideal typical cases to demonstrate how these mechanisms operate over the course of a person’s life.

Keywords:   generosity, well-being, causal mechanisms, neurobiology, relational ties, religious wisdom

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .