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5.1l.3. Altruism and Psychological Egoism (Altruism and Psychological Egoism on PhilPapers)

Ananth, Mahesh (2005). Psychological altruism vs. biological altruism: Narrowing the gap with the Baldwin effect. Acta Biotheoretica 53 (3).   (Google)
Abstract: This paper defends the position that the supposed gap between biological altruism and psychological altruism is not nearly as wide as some scholars (e.g., Elliott Sober) insist. Crucial to this defense is the use of James Mark Baldwin's concepts of “organic selection”and “social heredity” to assist in revealing that the gap between biological and psychological altruism is more of a small lacuna. Specifically, this paper argues that ontogenetic behavioral adjustments, which are crucial to individual survival and reproduction, are also crucial to species survival. In particular, it is argued that human psychological altruism is produced and maintained by various sorts of mimicry and self-reflection in the aid of both individual and species survival. The upshot of this analysis is that it is possible to offer an account of psychological altruism that is closelytethered to biological altruism without reducing entirely the former to thelatter
Baier, Kurt (1990). Egoism. In Peter Singer (ed.), A Companion to Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.   (Google)
Batson, C. Daniel & Shaw, Laura L. (1991). Evidence for Altruism: Toward a Pluralism of Prosocial Motives. Psychological Inquiry 2 (2):107-122.   (Google)
Abstract: Psychologists have long assumed that the motivation for all intentional action, including all action intended to benefit others, is egoistic. People benefit others because, ultimately, to do so benefits themselves. The empathy-altruism hypothesis challenges this assumption. It claims that empathic emotion evokes truly altruistic motivation, motivation with an ultimate goal ofbenefiting not the self but the person for whom empathy is felt. Logical and psychological distinctions between egoism and altruism are reviewed, providing a conceptualframeworkfor empirical tests for the existence of altruism. Results of empirical tests to date are summarized; these results provide impressive support for the empathy-altruism hypothesis. We conclude that the popular and parsimonious explanation ofprosocial motivation in terms ofuniversal egoism must give way to a pluralistic explanation that includes altruism as well as egoism. Implications of such a pluralism are briefly noted, not only for our understanding ofprosocial motivation but also for our understanding of human nature and of the emotion-motivation link.
Batson, C. Daniel (1991). The Altruism Question: Toward a Social-Psychological Answer. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.   (Google)
Abstract: Are our efforts to help others ever driven solely by altruistic motivation, or is our ultimate goal always some form of self- benefit (egoistic motivation)? This volume reports the development of an empirically-testable theory of altruistic motivation and a series of experiments designed to test that theory. It sets the issue of egoism versus altruism in its larger historical and philosophical context, and brings diverse experiments into a single, integrated argument. Readers will find that this book provides a solid base of information from which questions surrounding the existence of altruistic motivation can be further investigated.
Batson, C. Daniel (2000). Unto Others: A service... and a Disservice. Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (1-2):207-210.   (Google)
Abstract: Sober and Wilson (1998) render a valuable service by bringing together discussions of evolutionary altruism and psychological altruism. They do a disservice by interpreting the results of experiments designed to test for the existence of psychological altruism as less conclusive than the data warrant. Sober and Wilson claim that new egoistic explanations can account for the existing experimental evidence, but they only offer explanations that have already been ruled out. Insofar as I know, no plausible egoistic explanation currently exists for the experimental evidence that feeling empathy for a person in need evokes altruistic motivation. Unless Sober and Wilson can provide a plausible egoistic explanation for the existing evidence, their ‘inconclusive’ conclusion should be corrected.
Broad, C. D. (1950). Egoism as a Theory of Human Motives. The Hibbert Journal 48:105-114.   (Google)
Abstract: Now it is plain that such consequences as these conflict sharply with common-sense notions of morality. If we had been obliged to accept Psychological Egoism, in any of its narrower forms, on its merits, we should have had to say: 'So much the worse for the common-sense notions of morality!' But, if I am right, the morality of common sense, with all its difficulties and incoherences, is immune at least to attacks from the basis of Psychological Egoism.
Brunero, John S. (2002). Evolution, altruism and "internal reward" explanations. Philosophical Forum 33 (4):413–424.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Internal rewards are the psychological benefits one receives by performing certain other-regarding actions. Internal rewards include such benefits as the avoidance of guilt, the avoidance of painful memories, and the attainment of warm, fuzzy feelings. Despite the limitations of social psychology, Sober and Wilson believe that evolutionary theory can show that it is more likely for benevolent other-regarding motivational mechanisms to have evolved, thereby supporting the altruist’s claim. Here, I will argue for two related theses. First, if internal reward explanations pose a problem for social psychology, then they also pose a problem for evolutionary theory. Second, there is no need to think that internal reward explanations pose a problem for altruists because these explanations either do not inform us about what our ultimate motives really are or they unreasonably define out of existence the possibility of altruism.
Campbell, John (1999). Can philosophical accounts of altruism accommodate experimental data on helping behaviour? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (1):26 – 45.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Philosophers often discuss altruism, how it is to be understood, explained, justified, evaluated, etc. Few refer to any experimental data on helping behaviour. I will argue that some of these data seem at least initially to present a challenge to various philosophical accounts of altruism. Put very broadly, when one looks at various philosophical accounts of altruism in light of various data on helping behaviour, one might wonder whether many philosophical accounts fall prey to the 'fundamental attribution error', overestimating people's character and personal dispositions as the basis of their actions and underestimating the role of persons' situations and their construals of them in determining what they do.
Evans, E. Keri (1897). The idealist treatment of egoism and altruism. International Journal of Ethics 7 (4):486-492.   (Google | More links)
Feinberg, Joel (1978). Psychological Egoism. In Russ Shafer-Landau & Joel Feinberg (eds.), Reason and Responsibility. Wadsworth.   (Google)
Frankfurt, Harry (2001). The dear self. Philosophers' Imprint 1 (1):1-14.   (Google)
Abstract: Frankfurt argues that self-love is the purest and -- paradoxically, perhaps -- most disinterested form of love
Gert, Bernard (1967). Hobbes and Psychological Egoism. Journal of the History of Ideas 28 (4):503-520.   (Google)
Abstract: Hobbes has served for both philosophers and political scientists as the paradigm case of someone who held an egoistic view of human nature. In this article I shall attempt to show that the almost unanimous view that Hobbes held psychological egoism is mistaken, and further that Hobbes's political theory does not demand an egoistic psychology, but on the contrary is incompatible with psychological egoism. I do not maintain that Hobbes was completely consistent; in fact, I shall show that there was a continuous development in Hobbes's works away from an egoistic psychology. But I do think that the main outlines of Hobbes's political theory, i.e., his account of the laws of nature, the right of nature, the obligations imposed by laws and covenants, and the rights and duties of citizen and sovereign, are essentially the same in The Elements of Law, De Cive, and Leviathan. I thus hold that even in his earliest work, The Elements, the only one where a charge of egoism is justifiable, the political theory does not depend on egoism. But the first and most important point to be established is that Hobbes did not hold an egoistic psychology.
Gert, Bernard (1965). Hobbes, mechanism, and egoism. Philosophical Quarterly 15 (61):341-349.   (Google | More links)
Glasgow, W. D. (1978). Broad on psychological egoism. Ethics 88 (4):361-368.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In what follows, I shall first outline Broad's description of, and attitude to, psychological egoism. Then, I shall examine briefly the form which a defense against his criticisms might take. This raises the query whether such a defense is consistent with the doctrine's empirical character. It is suggested that the egoist could evade this difficulty by questioning an assumption which Broad (and others) make about psychological egoism. By abandoning this assumption, we can state the doctrine in a more adequate form-a form which emphasizes the point that men, although psychological egoists, are also rational beings, capable of acting on principle!
Hodges, Donald Clark (1961). Psychological egoism: A note on professor Lemos' discussion. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 22 (2):246-248.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In his discussion of "Psychological Egoism" (PPR, June, 1960), Professor Lemos chooses to legislate it out of existence by means of a definition; so I choose to legislate it back into existence by a similar device. The pertinent question is whether definitions of psychological egoism are arbitrary or not.
Jamieson, Dale (2002). Sober and Wilson on psychological altruism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65 (3):702–710.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In their marvelous book, Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior, Sober and Wilson identify two distinct problems of altruism.’ The problem of Evolutionary Altruism (EA) “is to show how behaviors that benefit others at the expense of self can evolve;” (17) group selection is the key to the solution of this problem. The problem of Psychological Altruism (PA) is to determine whether people “have altruistic desires that are psychologically ultimate.” (201) After carefully considering the arguments of both psychologists and philosophers, Sober and Wilson render the verdict “not proven.” But just in the nick of time, evolutionary biology rides to the rescue; it succeeds where psychology and philosophy fail in vindicating our good nature. In this paper, I will discuss Sober and Wilson’s treatment of PA.
Krebs, Dennis (1982). Psychological approaches to altruism: An evaluation. Ethics 92 (3):447-458.   (Google | More links)
LaFollette, Hugh (1988). The truth in psychological egosim. In Joel Feinberg (ed.), Reason and Responsibility (7th Edition).   (Google)
Abstract: Mother Teresa spends her life caring for the poor and the infirm; J. Paul Getty, Jr., spends his life making investments and directing corporations. Although we might be unhappy doing what they do, we assume they are satisfied. Mother Teresa enjoys her work and would be miserable if she had to mastermind corporate takeovers. Getty would be wretched if he had to care for lepers or become a lawn chair salesman
Lemos, Ramon M. (1960). Psychological egoism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 20 (4):540-546.   (Google | More links)
Lemos, John (2004). Psychological hedonism, evolutionary biology, and the experience machine. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (4):506-526.   (Google)
Abstract: In the second half of their recent, critically acclaimed book Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior , Elliott Sober and David Sloan Wilson discuss psychological hedonism. This is the view that avoiding our own pain and increasing our own pleasure are the only ultimate motives people have. They argue that none of the traditional philosophical arguments against this view are good, and they go on to present theirownevolutionary biological argument against it. Interestingly, the first half of their book, which is a defense of group selectionism, has received almost all of the attention of those people who have published reactions to the book. No one has published a detailed reaction to the argument of the latter half of the book. In this article, the author explains and critically discusses their evolutionary biological argument against psychological hedonism, concluding that in its current form it is not strong enough to support its conclusion. However, the author goes on to argue that despite recent criticisms of Robert Nozick’s experience-machine argument, it is still a good argument against psychological hedonism. In support of the latter point, the author responds to the objections of Sober and Wilson and to the more recent criticisms offered by Matthew Silverstein. Key Words: hedonism • psychological egoism • evolution • Robert Nozick • Elliott Sober
Lipkin, Robert J. (1987). Altruism and sympathy in Hume's ethics. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 65 (1):18 – 32.   (Google | More links)
May, Joshua (forthcoming). Relational Desires and Empirical Evidence against Psychological Egoism. European Journal of Philosophy.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Roughly, psychological egoism is the thesis that all of a person's intentional actions are ultimately self-interested in some sense; psychological altruism is the thesis that some of a person's intentional actions are not ultimately self-interested, since some are ultimately other-regarding in some sense. C. Daniel Batson and other social psychologists have argued that experiments provide support for a theory called the "empathy-altruism hypothesis" that entails the falsity of psychological egoism. However, several critics claim that there are egoistic explanations of the data that are still not ruled out. One of the most potent criticisms of Batson comes from Elliott Sober and David Sloan Wilson. I argue for two main theses in this paper: (1) we can improve on Sober and Wilson’s conception of psychological egoism and altruism, and (2) this improvement shows that one of the strongest of Sober and Wilson's purportedly egoistic explanations is not tenable. A defense of these two theses goes some way toward defending Batson‘s claim that the evidence from social psychology provides sufficient reason to reject psychological egoism.
McAllister, W. K. (1953). Toward a re-examination of psychological hedonism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 13 (4):499-505.   (Google | More links)
McBride, Cillian & Seglow, Jonathan (2003). Introduction: Egoism, altruism and impartiality. Res Publica 9 (3):213-222.   (Google)
Abstract: The distinction between egoistic and altruistic motivation is firmly embedded in contemporary moral discourse, but harks back too to early modern attempts to found morality on an egoistic basis. Rejecting that latter premise means accepting that others’ interests have intrinsic value, but it remains far from clear what altruism demands of us and what its relationship is with the rest of morality. While informing our duties, altruism seems also to urge us to transcend them and embrace the other-regarding values and virtues constitutive of a good life. This rather wide conception of morality may strike us today as too demanding. At the same time, however, currently popular impartialist accounts of morality can disrupt much everyday altruism in their insistence that each person’s interests are weighed precisely equally. Having sketched this problematic of altruism, the second half of this Introduction outlines the arguments of the four papers and review essay in this collection, each of which, in a different way, negotiates the difficult relationships between egoism, altruism, morality and impartiality
McConnell, Terrance C. (1978). The argument from psychological egoism to ethical egoism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 56 (1):41-47.   (Google)
McGilvary, Evander Bradley (1903). Altruism in Hume's treatise. Philosophical Review 12 (3):272-298.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: It is the purpose of this paper to examine the position of the Treatise on this subject [of altruism]. The result, as the writer believes, will show that Hume admits the existence of an original altruism as fully in his earlier as in his later work.
McNeilly, F. S. (1966). Egoism in Hobbes. Philosophical Quarterly 16 (64):193-206.   (Google | More links)
Mees, Ulrich & Schmitt, Annette (2008). Goals of action and emotional reasons for action. A modern version of the theory of ultimate psychological hedonism. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 38 (2):157–178.   (Google | More links)
Menon, Sangeetha (2007). Basics of Spiritual Altruism. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology 39 (2):137-152.   (Google)
Abstract: The major discussions on altruism today, particularly in the area of sociobiology, give exclusive attention to altruism as an act that favors evolutionary or social benefits. That altruism is a phenomenon exhibited by a self is almost neglected. To understand altruism it is also important to look at the nature of 'self-space' that constitutes various levels of altruism. Self-space, as presented in the Indian philosophical literature, refers to a reified self-identity that would reflect ethical and spiritual concerns.
Merrylees, W. A. (1932). An examination of psychological hedonism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 10 (2):92 – 108.   (Google | More links)
Mercer, Mark (2001). In defence of weak psychological egoism. Erkenntnis 55 (2):217-237.   (Google | More links)
Abstract:   Weak psychological egoism is the doctrine that anything an agent does intentionally, that agent does at least expecting thereby to realize one of her self-regarding ends. (Strong psychological egoism, by contrast, is the doctrine that agents act always intending thereby to realize a self-regarding end.) Though weak psychological egoism is a doctrine ultimately answerable to empirical evidence, we presently have excellent a priori reasons for accepting it and attempting to construct psychological theories that include it as an organizing principle. These reasons have mainly to do with the idea that to understand the motivation behind an action, we need to understand the force of the consideration that motivates the agent, and the way to do this is to find a self-regarding end associated in the agent''s mind with acting on that consideration
Morillo, Carolyn R. (1990). The reward event and motivation. Journal of Philosophy 87 (4):169-186.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In philosophy, the textbook case for the discussion of human motivation is the examination (and almost always, the refutation) of psychological egoism. The arguments have become part of the folklore of our tribe, from their inclusion in countless introductory texts. [...] One of my central aims has been to define the issues empirically, so we do not just settle them by definition. Although I am inclined at present to put my bets on the reward-event theory, with its internalism, monism, and causal primacy of satisfaction, I think we are very far from knowing enough to settle these questions concerning motivation, human or otherwise. The winds of science will blow where they may. In the meantime, we can be a bit more circumspect about what we put in our tribal folklore.
Moseley, Alexander (online). Egoism. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.   (Google)
Abstract: In philosophy, egoism is the theory that one’s self is, or should be, the motivation and the goal of one’s own action. Egoism has two variants, descriptive or normative. The descriptive (or positive) variant conceives egoism as a factual description of human affairs. That is, people are motivated by their own interests and desires, and they cannot be described otherwise. The normative variant proposes that people should be so motivated, regardless of what presently motivates their behavior. Altruism is the opposite of egoism. The term “egoism” derives from “ego,” the Latin term for the English word “I”. “Egoism” should be distinguished from “egotism,” which means a psychological overvaluation of one’s own importance, or of one’s own activities.
Nagel, Thomas (1970). The Possibility of Altruism. Oxford Clarendon Press.   (Google)
Abstract: Just as there are rational requirements on thought, there are rational requirements on action. This book defends a conception of ethics, and a related conception of human nature, according to which altruism is included among the basic rational requirements on desire and action. Altruism itself depends on the recognition of the reality of other persons, and on the equivalent capacity to regard oneself as merely one individual among many.
Nichols, Shaun (2001). Mindreading and the cognitive architecture underlying altruistic motivation. Mind and Language 16 (4):425-455.   (Cited by 20 | Google | More links)
Abstract: In recent attempts to characterize the cognitive mechanisms underlying altruistic motivation, one central question is the extent to which the capacity for altruism depends on the capacity for understanding other minds, or ‘mindreading’. Some theorists maintain that the capacity for altruism is independent of any capacity for mindreading; others maintain that the capacity for altruism depends on fairly sophisticated mindreading skills. I argue that none of the prevailing accounts is adequate. Rather, I argue that altruistic motivation depends on a basic affective system, a ‘Concern Mechanism’, which requires only a minimal capacity for mindreading
Overskeid, Geir (2002). Psychological hedonism and the nature of motivation: Bertrand Russell's anhedonic desires. Philosophical Psychology 15 (1):77 – 93.   (Google)
Abstract: Understanding the causes of behavior is one of philosophy's oldest challenges. In analyzing human desires, Bertrand Russell's position was clearly related to that of psychological hedonism. Still, though he seems to have held quite consistently that desires and emotions govern human behavior, he claimed that they do not necessarily do so by making us want to maximize pleasure. This claim is related to several being made in today's psychology and philosophy. I point out a string of facts and arguments indicating the weakness of this position, and briefly discuss the possibility of developing a set of assumptions regarding behavioral causation common to students of thinking and behavior
Perrett, Roy W. (1987). Egoism, altruism and intentionalism in buddhist ethics. Journal of Indian Philosophy 15 (1).   (Google)
Piddington, Ralph (1931). Psychological hedonism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 9 (4):274 – 283.   (Google | More links)
Rosas, Alejandro (2002). Psychological and evolutionary evidence for altruism. Biology and Philosophy 17 (1):93-107.   (Google | More links)
Abstract:   Sober and Wilson have recently claimed that evolutionary theory can do what neither philosophy nor experimental psychology have been able to, namely, "break the deadlock" in the egoism vs. altruism debate with an argument based on the reliability of altruistic motivation. I analyze both their reliability argument and the experimental evidence of social psychology in favor of altruism in terms of the folk-psychological "laws" and inference patterns underlying them, and conclude that they both rely on the same patterns. I expose the confusions that have led Sober and Wilson to defend a reliability argument while rejecting the experimental evidence of social psychology.
Ruse, Michael (2000). Review of Sober and Wilson, Unto Others: The evolution and psychology of unselfish behavior. Ethics 110 (2):443-445.   (Google)
Russell, Bruce (1982). On the relation between psychological and ethical egoism. Philosophical Studies 42 (1):91-99.   (Google)
Abstract: Recently Terrance McConnell has attempted to show that not only does psychological egoism lend no support to ethical egoism but is even incompatible with it. 1 McConneU's attempt has been vitiated by Paul Simpson's critique of the version of psychological egoism that McConnell offered) In this discussion I will consider McConnell's and Simpson's arguments and then offer a version of psychological egoism that avoids Simpson's objections. After showing that one version of ethical egoism is incompatible with that version of psychological egoism, I will consider other versions of ethical egoism in an attempt to find the best version of that moral doctrine. It will turn out that even the best version of ethical egoism is incompatible with the version of psychological egoism that avoids Simpson's criticisms. However, another version of psychological egoism will be offered that is compatible with all versions of ethical egoism and that is also not open to Simpson's objections. An argument will be offered, and then criticized, that seems to lend support to ethical egoism and that rests, in part, on this other version of psychological egoism.
Shaver, Robert (online). Egoism. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.   (Google)
Abstract: Egoism can be a descriptive or a normative position. Psychological egoism, the most famous descriptive position, claims that each person has but one ultimate aim: her own welfare. Normative forms of egoism make claims about what one ought to do, rather than describe what one does do. Ethical egoism claims that it is necessary and sufficient for an action to be morally right that it maximize one's self-interest. Rational egoism claims that it is necessary and sufficient for an action to be rational that it maximize one's self-interest.
Sharp, Frank Chapman (1923). Some problems in the psychology of egoism and altruism. Journal of Philosophy 20 (4):85-104.   (Google | More links)
Sisson, Edward O. (1910). Egoism, altruism, catholism. A note on ethical terminology. Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 7 (6):158-161.   (Google | More links)
Slote, Michael Anthony (1964). An empirical basis for psychological egoism. Journal of Philosophy 61 (18):530-537.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In the present paper I wish to argue that psychological egoism may well have a basis in the empirical facts of human psychology. Certain contemporary learning theorists, e.g., Hull and Skinner, have put forward behavioristic theories of the origin and functioning of human motives which posit a certain number of basically "selfish, " unlearned primary drives or motives (like hunger, thirst, sleep, elimination, and sex), explain all other, higher-order, drives or motives as derived genetically from the primary ones via certain "laws of reinforcement," and, further, deny the "functional autonomy" of those higher-order drives or motive. Now it is a hotly debated issue in contemporary Learning Theory whether any theory such as we have described briefly above could adequately explain adult human behavior. I shall, however, argue only that a theory of the above kind may well be true, and that from such a theory, fortified only by one additional psychological premise, the truth of egoism (non-altruism) logically follows. I hope to show, thereby, that the question of psychological egoism is still an open empirical issue, however fallacious be the philosophical arguments for it.
Sober, Elliott & Wilson, David Sloan (2000). Morality and ‘Unto Others': Response to commentary discussion. Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (1-2):257-268.   (Google)
Abstract: We address the following issues raised by the commentators of our target article and book: (1) the problem of multiple perspectives; (2) how to define group selection; (3) distinguishing between the concepts of altruism and organism; (4) genetic versus cultural group selection; (5) the dark side of group selection; (6) the relationship between psychological and evolutionary altruism; (7) the question of whether the psychological questions can be answered; (8) psychological experiments. We thank the contributors for their commentaries, which provide a diverse agenda for future study of evolution and morality. Our response will follow the organization of our book, distinguishing between evolutionary issues that concern fitness effects and psychological issues that concern motives.
Sober, Elliott & Wilson, David Sloan (2000). Summary of: ‘Unto Others. The evolution and psychology of unselfish behavior'. Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (1-2):185-206.   (Google)
Abstract: The hypothesis of group selection fell victim to a seemingly devastating critique in 1960s evolutionary biology. In Unto Others (1998), we argue to the contrary, that group selection is a conceptually coherent and empirically well documented cause of evolution. We suggest, in addition, that it has been especially important in human evolution. In the second part of Unto Others, we consider the issue of psychological egoism and altruism -- do human beings have ultimate motives concerning the well-being of others? We argue that previous psychological and philosophical work on this question has been inconclusive. We propose an evolutionary argument for the claim that human beings have altruistic ultimate motives.
Sober, Elliott & Wilson, David Sloan (1998). Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior. Harvard University Press.   (Google)
Abstract: No matter what we do, however kind or generous our deeds may seem, a hidden motive of selfishness lurks--or so science has claimed for years. This book, whose publication promises to be a major scientific event, tells us differently. In Unto Others philosopher Elliott Sober and biologist David Sloan Wilson demonstrate once and for all that unselfish behavior is in fact an important feature of both biological and human nature. Their book provides a panoramic view of altruism throughout the animal kingdom--from self-sacrificing parasites to insects that subsume themselves in the superorganism of a colony to the human capacity for selflessness--even as it explains the evolutionary sense of such behavior.
Stich, Stephen; Doris, John M. & Roedder, Erica (forthcoming). Altruism. In Moral Psychology Research Group (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Abstract: We begin, in section 2, with a brief sketch of a cluster of assumptions about human desires, beliefs, actions, and motivation that are widely shared by historical and contemporary authors on both sides in the debate. With this as background, we’ll be able to offer a more sharply focused account of the debate. In section 3, our focus will be on links between evolutionary theory and the egoism/altruism debate. There is a substantial literature employing evolutionary theory on each side of the issue. However, it is our contention that neither camp has offered a convincing case. We are much more sanguine about recent research on altruism in social psychology, which will be our topic in section 4. Though we don’t think this work has resolved the debate, we will argue that it has made illuminating progress – progress that philosophers interested in the question cannot afford to ignore.
Stich, Stephen (2007). Evolution, altruism and cognitive architecture: A critique of Sober and Wilson's argument for psychological altruism. Biology and Philosophy 22 (2):267-281.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Sober and Wilson have propose a cluster of arguments for the conclusion that “natural selection is unlikely to have given us purely egoistic motives” and thus that psychological altruism is true. I maintain that none of these arguments is convincing. However, the most powerful of their arguments raises deep issues about what egoists and altruists are claiming and about the assumptions they make concerning the cognitive architecture underlying human motivation.
Tatarkiewicz, Wladyslaw (1949). Psychological hedonism. Synthese 8 (1).   (Google)
Van Der Steen, Wim J. (1995). Egoism and altruism in ethics: Dispensing with spurious generality. Journal of Value Inquiry 29 (1):31-44.   (Google)
Abstract: Is human behavior exclusively motivated by self-interest? Common sense indicates that we should flatly deny this, or so it seems to me. Yet the doctrine of universal self-interest, psychological egoism for short, has gained the support of many researchers in science. Common sense also seems to allow the rejection of ethical egoism, the doctrine that human behavior should be motivated exclusively by self-interest. It appears to be at variance with widely endorsed moralities. Yet it is a perennial subject of research in ethics. What stance should we take in the face of these discrepancies? Two views suggest themselves. Commonsensical views of egoism and altruism are flawed or research on the subject in science and ethics is misguided. Considering ethics I argue in this article that research is misguided to the extent that it is conducted at inappropriately high levels of generality. I argue that both ethical egoism and psychological egoism are mistaken.
Williams, Bernard A. O. (1973). Problems of the Self. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 144 | Google | More links)
Abstract: A volume of philosophical studies, centred on problems of personal identity and extending to related topics in the philosophy of mind and moral philosophy