The Altruists’ Dilemma

Business Ethics Quarterly 14 (2):315-328 (2004)
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The claim of neutrality made on behalf of “The Prisoner’s Dilemma” has been re-enforced by Kay Mathiesen’s creation of “TheAltruist’s Dilemma.” That this represents a neutral variation on “The Prisoner’s Dilemma” is compromised, however, by the failure of “The Altruist’s Dilemma” to deal with altruism in a full sense. The difference illustrates how, in contrast to its professed neutrality, “ThePrisoner’s Dilemma” involves very definite views of humanity and the nature of life itself. This is confirmed by Mathiesen’s misreading of O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi.”



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