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Can philosophy help us reconcile altruism with self-interest?

Prima facie, it seems an open and shut case that altruism and self-interest are opposites. The majority view is taken to be that almost all, if not indeed all, human action is premised on the latter. Economists have long assumed that the only rational form of agency is self-interest, and cynics are quick to note that the long-suffering maiden aunt martyring herself for others is subconsciously, or in secret, enjoying herself immensely.

But there is, to use a shop-worn phrase, a third way in the argument. This is to domicile other-regarding and…

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