Altruistic Reveries: Perspectives from the Humanities and by Basant K. Kapur, Kim-Chong Chong

By Basant K. Kapur, Kim-Chong Chong

Altruistic Reveries is a special quantity, which arises out of an Interdisciplinary convention on views on Altruism from the arts and Social Sciences equipped through the Centre for complicated stories, college of Arts and Social Sciences, nationwide collage of Singapore, in October 1999. Altruism is a deep, multi-faceted phenomenon, of significant curiosity and relevance to students around the complete diversity of disciplines within the Humanities and Social Sciences. The Centre accordingly introduced jointly specialists in assorted disciplines - Philosophy, Literature, Psychology, Sociology, Economics, and Political technological know-how - to check and talk about the value and function of altruism from their respective views. a complete of 10 papers in all have been awarded, and the amount is accomplished through an creation by means of the editors, and a last Concluding bankruptcy by means of one of many editors.
one of the matters mentioned are: the efficacy of motivational altruism within the solution of public concerns; the genetic origins of altruism and its attendant dangers; the metaphysical foundation of altruism; empathy and altruism; altruism or social trade; altruism in wartime; and the welfare country. A awesome function of the quantity is that some of the authors haven't `talked previous' each other. even supposing each one is a expert in his box, the papers are obtainable to these in different fields, and to non-specialists. either separately and jointly, they supply a wealthy set of insights and views on altruism as a basic human and social phenomenon, with a purpose to edify, curiosity, and stimulate all readers of the quantity.

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On the other hand, there may be cases where one is concerned for someone, independently of whether one has a particularistic relationship with him/her or not. In such cases, the issue of motivation is often raised. The thought that there is "really" no such thing as genuinely altruistic concern is fairly common. During the time of Mencius, this scepticism was either prompted or represented by the doctrines of Mo Tzu, Yang Chu, and KaoTzu. 24 2. MORAL SCEPTICISM MoTzu l Mo Tzu is not a moral sceptic, and it might seem strange that he is mentioned in the context of moral scepticism.

3. PRACTICAL ALTRUISM AND PITY What I have done so far is to construct an argument, based on the writings of Levinas, for the claim that altruism is the condition of subjectivity, not the other way round. If I am right then for people who think of themselves, or are aware of themselves, as beings with unique identities, as definite quiddities rather than amorphous beings with no defmite boundaries, altruism is already embedded in their humanity. Such people do not ask whether they should act altruistically, and do not need the theoretical altruist to give them a justification for doing so.

As a subject, I have to accept it in a passivity rather than assuming it in a positive act of freedom. As Levinas puts it, the responsibility that confirms my subjectivity, "in its antecedence to my 40 freedom, its antecedence to the present and to representation, is a passivity more passive than all passivity, an exposure to the other without this exposure being assumed ... 15). Specifically, to be a subject and to maintain my subjectivity, I have to be exposed to the Other. 15). 15), to feel responsible for all their "faults and misfortune" (OB, p.

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