We argue that there are two different kinds of altruistic motivation: classical psychological altruism, which generates ultimate desires to help other organisms at least partly for those organisms’ sake, and nonclassical psychological altruism, which generates ultimate desires to help other organisms for the sake of the organism providing the help. We then argue that classical psychological altruism is adaptive if the desire to help others is intergenerationally reliable and, thus, need not be learned. Nonclassical psychological altruism is adaptive when the desire to help others is adaptively learnable. This theory opens new avenues for the interdisciplinary study of psychological altruism.
Philosophy of Science
Piccinini, Gualtiero and Schulz, Armin, "The Evolution of Psychological Altruism" (2018). Philosophy Faculty Works. 10.
Available at: https://irl.umsl.edu/philosophy-faculty/10