Chapter

Pythagorean Bodies and the Body of Altruism

Edith Wyschogrod

in Altruism and Altruistic Love

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195143584
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199848119 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195143584.003.0004
Pythagorean Bodies and the Body of Altruism

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Altruism may be seen as endorsing actions that exceed the limits of what is taken to be one's duty, whether by the control of contrary inclinations and interests or without effort. As a starting point for understanding the Pythagorean body, it may be useful to consider a standard formulation of altruism and egoism as seen by evolutionary biology in terms of their potential for the enhancement of fitness and their capacity for replication. The interpretation of the body as code lends itself readily to the modeling of artificial life, life that is humanly contrived, through the use of computational prototypes, thus further attesting the pervasiveness of Pythagorean design. For the alterity-altruist, the body of the other as other is not the body understood as the coded information that governs its form and behaviors and even as the body as given in ordinary experience.

Keywords: Pythagorean body; alterity-altruist; altruism; egoism; formulation

Chapter.  5757 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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