Does pure altruism exist, and do we even want it?

I don’t think pure altruism is what we want people to experience, as I’ve told my nonprofit finance students for years. Philosopher Judith Lichtenberg wrote a great piece in the NYT back in 2010 that articulates why we should care far less about why people are generous and care far more that they act generously.

Altruism is possible and altruism is real, although in healthy people it intertwines subtly with the well-being of the agent who does good. And this is crucial for seeing how to increase the amount of altruism in the world.

Is Pure Altruism Possible? - The New York Times


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Written by

Aaron Miller

Aaron Miller

Provo, UT