دانلود مقاله ISI انگلیسی شماره 32985
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کد مقاله سال انتشار مقاله انگلیسی ترجمه فارسی تعداد کلمات
32985 2004 27 صفحه PDF سفارش دهید محاسبه نشده
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عنوان انگلیسی
What is altruism?
منبع

Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)

Journal : Journal of Economic Psychology, Volume 25, Issue 1, February 2004, Pages 97–123

کلمات کلیدی
/ - / ( ) - سه نظریه عقلانی / تعاملی - سه / نظریه خود هنجاری - سه پیامد (حماقت احساساتی - مراقبت والدین - صداقت -
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چکیده انگلیسی

The paper defines altruism as charity. The second section of the paper criticizes three rationalistic (what is called “interactional”) theories of altruism, viz., the egoistic, egocentric, and altercentric perspectives. The third section criticizes three normative (what is named “self-actional”) theories of altruism, viz., the Kantian, the socialization argument, and “warm glow” story. The fourth section elaborates on three implications of altruism qua charity. First, while altruism differs from self-interest, it is still within the domain of rational theory. Second, altruism should not be confused with parental care or, what is the same thing, philanthropy. Third, altruism should be distinguished from honesty.

مقدمه انگلیسی

On August 5, 1991, an Amish family of 10 members was traveling on a horse-drawn buggy on a north-central Ohio road. A pickup truck, driven by an intoxicated driver, slammed into the back of the buggy, killing six of the 10 instantly. The rest – all children aged, 5, 4, 2, and 1 – were left parentless. The Amish family did not carry insurance, and they do not believe in lawsuits. A local bank in Mansfield, Ohio, set up an account on their behalf that was announced in the Mansfield News Journal, the local newspaper. The newspaper reported that as of October 23, 1991, the account received many donations, totaling $141,000. The act of charity by anonymous donors can, but with some difficulty, find an accommodation in the Homo economicus house of neoclassical economists. The difficulty originates from the fact that the tools of neoclassical economics have not been originally developed to account for anonymous donation. This failing can be overlooked if it is not for the fact that anonymous donation is not a rare event. The donation of blood, for instance, is a common practice in many parts of the world – despite the fact that the donation receives little public fanfare and little pecuniary reward. Interestingly, some authors have shown theoretically (e.g., Stewart, 1992) and empirically ( Titmuss, 1970) that the supply of blood would decline if it were sold via the market. The phenomenon of altruism is generally a considerable component of any society. The phenomenon started to attract the attention of neoclassical economists only recently (e.g., Becker, 1991; Bergstrom, 1996). Altruism can be witnessed at small-scale “gift” sharing in small villages in the developing world to institutionalized charity organizations, associated with community groups, in modern societies. The paper does not provide a theory of altruism. It only exposes the failings of existing theories, heightened by the view of altruism qua charity – as illustrated in the Amish case. The paper reviews the limitations of existing theories given some of the ramifications, discussed in the paper, of the view of altruism qua charity: 1. Insofar as charity is motivated by the concern over the welfare of the recipient, the benefactor should end up with a lower pecuniary benefit. 2. On the other hand, if the donor is solely motivated by the concern for the welfare of the other, how to distinguish charity from sentimental foolishness? A relatively poor person who gives most of his income to charity would be judged as a sentimental fool. That is, one needs a rational choice model to analyze altruism. So, contrary to some positions (e.g., Helms & Keilany, 1991), altruism does not pose a serious anomaly to the neoclassical approach. 3. If altruism is about charity, altruism cannot be the defining element of the parent–child transfer of wealth. Otherwise, it would be more efficient – as measured by the amount of welfare per dollar – to support the homeless instead of raising children. 4. One should not model altruism as about honesty (the origin of justice). When one pays his debts or discloses the defects of his products, one is not necessarily acting out of altruism qua charity. Any behavior stemming from the concern over fairness – regarding, e.g., income distribution (e.g., Konow, 1996) or the division of a windfall gain in ultimatum games (Güth, 1995; Güth, Schmittberger, & Schwarze, 1982) – is hence outside the scope of the theory of altruism. 5. Altruism cannot be explained by the “warm glow” feeling because such an explanation begs the question: Since the feeling arises only if the act is not sentimentally foolish, what determines an act to be rationally altruistic? 6. The altruistic act is context-dependent, i.e., depends on the relative circumstances of the benefactor and the beneficiary. However, this does not entail that the taste for altruism is “planted” by the agent’s peer group through socialization or by historical custom through cultural habituation. The attempt to explain the altruistic taste in terms of social and cultural tastes begs the question: What is the origin of such social norms or customs? Understood altruism qua charity, Section 2 of the paper argues that three major rationalistic theories of altruism, grouped here as “interactional,” in fact explain other kinds of resource sharing. Section 3 maintains that three major normative theories of altruism, called here “self-actional,” actually beg the question rather than answer it. The terms “interactional” and “self-actional” are used in the same sense employed by Dewey and Bentley (1973) (see Joas & Beckert, 2002; Khalil, 2003a). Interactional theories (such as neoclassical economics and behavioral psychology), based on rationalistic accounts, explain action mainly in terms of environmental incentives. Self-actional theories (dominant in sociology, anthropology, and Freudian psychology), based on normative accounts, explain action mainly in terms of inner or external norms or structures of the mind, culture, society, psyche, and so on. Thus, according to self-actional accounts, given that action springs from norms, action is inflexible in the face of environmental stimuli or incentives. Section 4 provides three implications of the view of altruism qua charity: First, how does altruism differ from sentimental foolishness? Second, how does altruism differ from parental care (and philanthropy)? Third, how does altruism differ from honesty (justice)?

نتیجه گیری انگلیسی

The challenge ahead is to construct an alternative theory. As suggested elsewhere (Khalil, 1990 and Khalil, 2001), Adam Smith’s notion of sympathy, articulated in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, may hold the entry point for a theory of altruism, which he called the “virtue of beneficence.” In the first paragraph of his book, Smith (1976, p. 9) recognizes that humans have motives other than self-interested ones. Smith also recognizes that one has to attend to his self-interest because “Nature” entrusted him to care for it. Thus, charity has to be within reason. In addition, Smith did not regard the parent–child relation as the epitome of altruism. Furthermore, Smith (1976, pp. 78–82) dedicated a chapter distinguishing the virtue of beneficence from the virtue justice. Moreover, Smith discussed in detail how the impartial spectator, which resides in everyone’s breast (i.e., conscience), is not empowered with a pregiven set of canons or moral tastes. It rather arises from station switching, i.e., how the ability to judge others impartially makes one an impartial judge of his own actions. Therefore, for Smith, altruism is not ultimately prompted by a pregiven “warm glow,” pregiven public opinion or social peer group, or pregiven institutions. In light of over two hundred years of social and psychological theory, the idea of neutral station-switching sounds naı̈ve. This is not the place to defend this basic insight. However, the value of the “classics” resides in the possibility that they may possess “golden nuggets” that were tarnished through neglect as later theories have evolved along entrenched perspectives and questions. To be sure, Smith’s psychological theory is not complete. Nonetheless, it promises a fruitful framework upon which later contributions can be rethought and redigested. This paper tried to clarify issues that cut across disciplinary lines. The phenomenon of altruism proves to be a fertile soil for interdisciplinary dialogue that, hopefully, can lead to a unified theory. Such a theory can be an example for cooperation with regard to other questions. While the understanding of human behavior is a formidable task, it is possible to make progress through the reexamination of basic assumption in light of the contributions of other disciplines.

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