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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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Liabilities

Liabilities

Chapter:
(p.188) 8 Liabilities
Source:
Altruism in Humans
Author(s):

C. Daniel Batson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195341065.003.0009

This chapter considers the liabilities of empathy-induced altruism following roughly the same sequence as in Chapter 7—first, liabilities for individuals in need, then for groups in need, and finally, for the person experiencing altruistic motivation. The potential liabilities are: empathy-induced altruism can hurt those in need, especially when the helper needs a cool head; it may also produce maternalism and paternalism; empathy-induced altruism can be overridden by self-concern; it can produce empathy avoidance; empathy-induced altruism is less likely to be evoked by non-personal, abstract, and chronic needs; empathy-induced altruism can be a source of immoral action; it can also pose a threat to the common good in social dilemmas. Finally, empathy-induced altruism can pose a threat to the mental and physical health—and even to the life—of the altruistically motivated individual.

Keywords:   common good, empathy avoidance, empathy-induced altruism, immoral action, maternalism, mental health, paternalism, physical health, social dilemmas

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