The altruism question [electronic resource] : toward a social psychological answer /
C. Daniel Batson.
Hillsdale, N.J. : L. Erlbaum, Associates, 1991.
ix, 257 p. ; 24 cm.
0805802452 (c)
More Details
Hillsdale, N.J. : L. Erlbaum, Associates, 1991.
0805802452 (c)
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 231-246) and indexes.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1992-04:
Batson has contributed an exceedingly thorough work on altruism. Beginning with the history of the concept of altruism, he traces beliefs about human nature from the Greek era through the Judeo-Christian period and finally into the influence of Western thought on the early schools of psychology. Focusing the debate on the competing ideas of egoism versus altruism, with the former concept accorded the dominant position in psychology, Batson elaborates upon a "Galilean" model for evaluating the robustness of the two competing ideas. Within this framework, he develops a definition for altruism, a vantage point from which he summarizes and evaluates the published scientific research. At the conclusion of the book he includes interesting sections on "altruistic personality" and the implication of his findings for socialization practices. This unusually well-researched book, with close to 300 references, includes a thorough and well-balanced presentation on the present state of knowledge concerning altruism. For audiences with some background in psychology and willing to immerse themselves in detailed discussions of empirical data. Recommended for upper-division undergraduate and graduate libraries.-P. Barker, Schenectady County Community College
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Choice, April 1992
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Back Cover Copy
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.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. vii
The Question Posed by Our Concern for Others: Altruism or Egoism?p. 1
The Altruism Question in Western Thoughtp. 15
Egoism and Altruism in Western Philosophyp. 17
Egoism and Altruism in Early Psychologyp. 33
The Altruism Question in Contemporary Psychologyp. 43
Toward an Answer: the Empathy-Altruism Hypothesisp. 59
A Scientific Method for Addressing the Altruism Questionp. 61
A Three-Path Model of Egoistic and Altruistic Motivation to Help: the Empathy-Altruism Hypothesisp. 74
Three Egoistic Alternatives to the Empathy-Altruism Hypothesisp. 91
Testing the Egoistic Alternatives to the Empathy-Altruism Hypothesisp. 107
Aversive-Arousal Reductionp. 109
Empathy-Specific Punishmentp. 128
Empathy-Specific Rewardp. 149
Extensionsp. 175
Other Possible Sources of Altruistic Motivation: the Altruistic Personalityp. 177
Implications and Limitations of the Empathy-Altruism Hypothesisp. 202
Referencesp. 231
Author Indexp. 247
Indexp. 252
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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