Altruism and the endurance of the good
Altruism, Bureaucracy, Egoism, Ethics, Third sector
Egoism is a pervasive trait in modern market societies that encourages people to focus upon their own self-interest above all else. Third-sector organizations, by contrast, are frequently termed "altruistic." This essay elucidates the meaning of "altruism" as it applies to these organizations. Moral altruism means direct concern for another's well being-whoever that person might be. This study rejects psychological egoism as a meaningful psychological theory, and ethical egoism as a coherent moral position; it discusses empirical studies of altruism in rescuers of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe as proof against the former form of egoism and Kant's moral theory against the latter. The essay then argues that altruism is a form of public action in Hannah Arendt's sense of this term. The essay concludes that third-sector organizations are altruistic insofar as they engage in public action, thereby, treating beneficiaries with respect for their individuality. © 2000 International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University.
Original Publication Date
Clohesy, William W., "Altruism and the endurance of the good" (2000). Faculty Publications. 3607.