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A Scientific Search for Altruism – Do We Only Care About Ourselves? - Oxford Scholarship Online
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A Scientific Search for Altruism: Do We Only Care About Ourselves?

C. Daniel Batson


This book provides an example of how the scientific method can be used to address a fundamental question about human nature. For centuries—indeed for millennia—the egoism–altruism debate has echoed through Western thought. Egoism says that the motivation for everything we do, including all of our seemingly selfless acts of care for others, is to gain one or another self-benefit. Altruism, while not denying the force of self-benefit, says that under certain circumstances we can care for others for their sakes, not our own. Over the past half-century, social psychologists have turned to laborato ... More

Keywords: altruism, egoism, empathic concern, empathy, empathy–altruism hypothesis, helping, prosocial behavior, prosocial motivation, self-interest, experimental social psychology

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780190651374
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190651374.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

C. Daniel Batson, author
University of Kansas

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