Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (4):547 - 561 (2012)
AbstractPhilosophical accounts of altruism that purport to explain helping behavior are vulnerable to empirical falsification. John Campbell argues that the Good Samaritan study adds to a growing body of evidence that helping behavior is not best explained by appeal to altruism, thus jeopardizing those accounts. I propose that philosophical accounts of altruism can be empirically challenged only if it is shown that altruistic motivations are undermined by normative conflict in the agent, and that the relevant studies do not provide this sort of evidence. Non-normative, purely causal, psychological factors would be empirically relevant only if the notion of altruism is broadened to include the requirement that one recognize certain situations as calling for altruism. But even in that case, the relevant studies are not designed in such a way that could threaten philosophical theories of altruism
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Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior.Elliott Sober & David Sloan Wilson - 1998 - Harvard University Press.
Lack of Character: Personality and Moral Behavior.John M. Doris - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
Moral Philosophy Meets Social Psychology: Virtue Ethics and the Fundamental Attribution Error.Gilbert Harman - 1999 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 99 (1999):315-331.