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Altruism in Humans$
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C. Daniel Batson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195341065

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195341065.001.0001

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Toward a Pluralism of Prosocial Motives—and a More Humane Society

Toward a Pluralism of Prosocial Motives—and a More Humane Society

(p.207) 9 Toward a Pluralism of Prosocial Motives—and a More Humane Society
Altruism in Humans

C. Daniel Batson

Oxford University Press

Evidence for empathy-induced altruism poses a challenge to the value assumption of the theory of rational choice. This chapter considers broader theoretical and practical implications of moving beyond the assumption of universal egoism to a pluralism of prosocial motives that includes not only egoism and altruism but also two other forms of prosocial motivation—collectivism and principlism. Collectivism is motivation with the ultimate goal of increasing the welfare of a group or collective. Principlism is motivation with the ultimate goal of upholding some moral principle such as a principle of fairness or justice or the Utilitarian principle of greatest good for the greatest number. Each of these four forms of prosocial motivation has strengths; each also has weaknesses. The potential for conflict among prosocial motives is considered, as is the possibility of orchestrating prosocial motives to use the strengths of one to overcome the weaknesses of another.

Keywords:   altruism, collectivism, egoism, orchestrating prosocial motives, principlism, prosocial motives, theory of rational choice, value assumption

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