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Altruism, Community,and Justice

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Paul Young

on 3 April 2014

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Transcript of Altruism, Community,and Justice

Love your neighbor as yourself.
As much as you love yourself?
In the ways that you love yourself?
As being yourself?
Altruism vs. Egoism
The Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jan Wijnants, 1670
Minimal groups
Intentional communities
Social networks
Breaking boundaries
Christian altruism: Who is my neighbor?
The Selfish Gene (Dawkins, 1989)
Heinrich's helpful ravens (
Ravens in Winter
, 1989)
Why did they share the good news?
Who was the in-group?
Kin selection affects altruism.
Reciprocal altruism goes beyond kin selection.
In vampire bats, altruistic sharing increases life expectancy.
Evolutionary Psychology: Is altruism natural?
Auguste Comte, founder of sociology and positivism
August Comte (1798-1857) and Ethical Altruism
Live for others
Put social motivation over personal motivation
Repress self-regarding tendencies
The varieties of altruism
Altruism, Community,and Justice
Why should we seek justice for others?
Peter Singer
Peter Singer (1946)
Animal Liberation
(1975): Utilitarianism is not limited to human beings
Rights depend on ability to have a preference
Love thy neighbor as thyself is
universalized
Effective Altruism
Does altruism build community?
Using the principles of effective altruism, will Americans ever help local needs?
Are there limits to altruism?
Empathy combined with difficulty of escape (Batson)
Empathic joy
Cost to the self of
not
helping
Time pressure: The Princeton Seminarian study
Presence of others: Kitty Genovese and the bystander effect
Noticing and interpreting: Attributions
Mood
Moral reasoning ability
What about Gender?
What factors affect altruistic actions?
Who is my neighbor?
In-group vs. out-group
On this hang all the law
and the prophets.
Context: Love the Lord
your God with all your
heart, and soul, and strength, and mind.
WHATEVER THE CONDITIONS OF PEOPLE’S
LIVES, WHEREVER THEY LIVE, HOWEVER THEY LIVE, WE ALL SHARE THE SAME DREAMS.
MELINDA GATES
George Henry Lewes brought the word into English (1852)
George Eliot: my readers “should be better able to imagine and to feel the pains and joys of those who differ from themselves”
Thomas Hardy: “It was his habit...of putting himself in the place of those who endured sufferings ...This altruism was . . . constant with him”
Empathy or altruism?
Is it good to give money to
train guide dogs for the blind?
It costs $40,000 to train a guide dog. The dog may be helpful for 10 years.
It costs less than 10 cents a year to treat a person with Mectizan to prevent river blindness, or $1 for ten years.
With $40,000 we can help one blind person or
protect 40,000 people from blindness, for ten years.
Julian Rapaport,
Community Psychology
Define the challenge narrowly enough that the available resources can make a difference.
An ethical man is a Christian
holding four aces.
Mark Twain
"True altruism...paying a cost to help another individual and never ever receiving any kind of benefit, is not very common," Stevens says. "It wouldn't make much sense biologically for that to happen."
Endorsement of a variety of prayer approaches, satisfaction with prayer life, and religious coping predict helping behavior, which in turn predicts better mental health (Schwartz et al., 2003)
Altruistic prayer reduces anger much more than
simply thinking about a person in need (Bushman, 2011)
Almighty and Eternal God,
You are the everlasting health of those who believe in You.
Hear us for Your sick servant (N...)
for whom we implore the aid of Your tender mercy,
that being restored to bodily health,
he (she) may give thanks to You in Your Church.
Through Christ our Lord.
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