Chapter

Sparks of Benevolence

Shaun Nichols

in Sentimental Rules

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780195169348
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835041 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195169344.003.0002
 Sparks of Benevolence

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This chapter explores in detail the nature of the affective response to suffering in others. Humans exhibit importantly different kinds of response, each of which apparently emerges fairly early in development. The psychological underpinnings of altruistic motivation are especially complex, and the chapter argues that altruistic motivation depends on a basic affective system, a “Concern Mechanism,” which requires only a minimal capacity for understanding other minds.

Keywords: altruism; concern; egocentricity; emotional contagion; empathy; mindreading; personal distress; perspective taking; simulation; sympathy; Daniel Batson

Chapter.  15315 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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