Altruism

Front Cover
Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999 - Philosophy - 174 pages

Altruism, understood as doing something for someone else at some cost to oneself, is contrasted with selfishness. Ozinga argues convincingly that altruism is a natural part of human nature that it is not just found in a few rare people-- that it has evolutionary value and is exhibited in some manner by everyone. Nonetheless, most people seem to feel that selfishness rules human behavior. Altruism is considered an environmental addition to the human character, often seen as naivetÚ.

Ozinga attacks this view by examining the probable source of altruism--in the genes, in the concept of natural law, or in the instinct for social behavior. Various barriers to altruism are explored in the chemistry of a person, in terms of organized religions or ideologies, and in the goals people choose. Altruism, as Ozinga shows, is a multi-dimensional concept that can be understood and appreciated as a vital part of human nature.

 

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Contents

THE SOURCE
1
The Genetic Possibility
3
Altruism as Natural Law
15
Altruism as Social Instinct
27
BARRIERS TO ALTRUISM
43
Altruism and the Addictive Brain
45
Rigid Religious and Ideological Organizations
57
Altruism and Absolute Goals
75
The Unexpected Altruism from Selfish Behavior
91
Harmful Altruism Rural Equality in Africa and Russia
103
Altruism and the Environment
117
CONCLUSION
133
Altruism as the Consumer of Sin
135
Bibliography
155
Index
167
Copyright

INVISIBLE AND UNEXPECTED ALTRUISM
89

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About the author (1999)

JAMES R. OZINGA is Professor of Political Science at Oakland University./e He has written six books dealing with political philosophy and East-Central European government and politics.

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