A Time Old Question: Altruism vs. Self-Care
Judith Lichtnberg, in an article recently appearing in the New York Times, covers the history of the question, "Is Pure Altruism Possible?"
"Aristotle had it right in his “Nicomachean Ethics:” we have to raise people from their “very youth” and educate them “so as both to delight in and to be pained by the things that we ought.”
I am intrigued by Dr. Lichtenberg's article titled, "Is Pure Altruism Possible?" I love the philosophical meanderings that take us in and out of the fun-house of the mind, as she weaves a theory that combines both objective thought and subjective pondering. It is a nice blend of science and the subjective.
I like the conclusion of her article. We are really mystified when we see or think we see a purely altruistic action taking place. We tend to elevate the person doing the altruistic act to a kind of super human position, or we do the opposite and say in a snide fashion, "I wonder what's in it for him?"
After a gentle stroll through philosophical history meeting the likes of Kant and Freud and Darwin, she leaves us with a rather profound question: Forgot altruism; "Is there thought without motive at all?"