Written by authors who speak directly from their years of personal and professional experience with health projects in Africa, this book provides an integrated historical, social, political, economic, and health introduction to a series of African countries. It also offers a comprehensive view of major health issues for those aiming to undertake humanitarian and global health work in Africa. In the introductory chapter, the editors discuss the concepts of globalism and humanitarianism, and provide a framework for thinking about global health. They introduce readers to significant aspects of African history and agencies that play major roles in global health work in Africa. The “Tips for Travelers to Africa” chapter provides a wealth of information on preparing for travel to Africa and working successfully and effectively in African cultures. Individual chapters on Botswana, Ghana, The Maghreb, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda focus on key health or environmental issues, projects, and solutions unique to each country. Written jointly by U.S. and African medical personnel participating in major health initiatives, the chapters offer vibrant accounts of work on leading causes of disease and death or environmental problems.
Altruism in World Religions
Jacob Neusner and Bruce Chilton, Editors Georgetown University Press, 2005 Library of Congress BJ1474.A475 2005 | Dewey Decimal 205
In 1830 philosopher Auguste Comte coined the term altruism to provide a general definition for the act of selflessly caring for others. But does this modern conception of sacrificing one's own interests for the well-being of others apply to the charitable behaviors encouraged by all world religions? In Altruism in World Religionsprominent scholars from an array of religious perspectives probe the definition of altruism to determine whether it is a category that serves to advance the study of religion.
Exploring a range of philosophical and religious thought from Greco-Roman philia to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, from Hinduism in India to Buddhism and the religions of China and Japan, the authors find that altruism becomes problematic when applied to religious studies because it is, in fact, a concept absent from religion. Chapters on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam reveal that followers of these religions cannot genuinely perform self-sacrificing acts because God has promised to reward every good deed. Moreover, the separation between the self and the other that self-sacrifice necessarily implies, runs counter to Buddhist thought, which makes no such distinction.
By challenging our assumptions about the act of self-sacrifice as it relates to religious teachings, the authors have shown altruism to be more of a secular than religious notion. At the same time, their findings highlight how charitable acts operate with the values and structures of the religions studied.
Presents a collection of papers by economists theorizing on the roles of altruism and morality versus self-interest in the shaping of human behavior and institutions. Specifically, the authors examine why some persons behave in an altruistic way without any apparent reward, thus defying the economist's model of utility maximization. The chapters are accompanied by commentaries from representatives of other disciplines, including law and philosophy.
This anthology brings together for the first time leading essays and book chapters from theologians, philosophers, and scientists on their research relating to ethics, altruism, and love. Because the general consensus today is that scholarship in moral theory requires empirical research, the arguments of the leading scholars presented in this book will be particularly important to those examining issues in love, ethics, religion, and science.
The first half of The Altruism Reader offers key selections from religious texts, leading contemporary scholars, and cutting-edge ethicists. Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism are represented. Among the highly respected writers are Thomas Aquinas, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, John Polkinghorne, Stephen Pope, Louis Fischer, Amira Shamma Abdin, Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, and Daniel Day Williams.
Primary readings on love and altruism from the sciences are featured in the second half of the book. Here the focus is on anthropology, psychology, sociology, biology, and neurology, with material written by Daniel C. Batson, David Sloan Wilson, Robert Wright, Stephen G. Post, Robert Axelrod, Richard Dawkins, Holmes Rolston III, and other renowned scientists and philosophers.
"Virtually all people act—and often talk—as if they have some inkling about love. We speak about loving food, falling in love, loving God, feeling loved, and loving a type of music. We say that love hurts, love waits, love stinks, and love means never having to say you're sorry.We use the word and its derivatives in a wide variety of ways . . . . My own definition of love is this: To love is to act intentionally, in sympathetic response to others (including God), to promote well-being."—Thomas Jay Oord
What motivates altruism? How essential is the phenomenon of altruism to the human experience? Is altruism readily accessible to the ordinary person? In The Altruistic Species, Andrew Michael Flescher and Daniel L. Worthen explore these questions through the lenses of four disciplinary perspectives—biology, psychology, philosophy, and religion. In the course of their investigation, they make an extended argument for the existence of altruism against competing theories that construe all ostensible cases of benevolence as self-interest in disguise. The authors consider theories of egoism; the role of genetics and evolutionary biology; the psychological that induce altruistic behavior; philosophical theories of altruism in normative ethics such as Kantian, utilitarian, and Aristotelian models of moral action; and accounts of love of the neighbor in Christianity and Buddhism. Additionally, they offer a new, comprehensive definition of altruism that is inclusive of the insights of each of these perspectives.
The Altruistic Species reinvigorates the debate over the prevalence of selfless motivation in human behavior—whether it is a rare or ubiquitous phenomenon, something that is always to be considered exceptional or a capacity that members of any community potentially could develop. This noteworthy interdisciplinary examination of altruism balances science, virtue theory, and theology. It is ideal courses in ethics, human behavior, and evolutionary biology, as an educational resource for other multidisciplinary studies, and for interested lay readers.
Altruistically Inclined? examines the implications of recent research in the natural sciences for two important social scientific approaches to individual behavior: the economic/rational choice approach and the sociological/anthropological. It considers jointly two controversial and related ideas: the operation of group selection within early human evolutionary processes and the likelihood of modularity—domain-specific adaptations in our cognitive mechanisms and behavioral predispositions.
Experimental research shows that people will often cooperate in one-shot prisoner's dilemma (PD) games and reject positive offers in ultimatum games, contradicting commonly accepted notions of rationality. Upon first appearance, predispositions to behave in this fashion could not have been favored by natural selection operating only at the level of the individual organism.
Emphasizing universal and variable features of human culture, developing research on how the brain functions, and refinements of thinking about levels of selection in evolutionary processes, Alexander J. Field argues that humans are born with the rudiments of a PD solution module—and differentially prepared to learn norms supportive of it. His emphasis on failure to harm, as opposed to the provision of affirmative assistance, as the empirically dominant form of altruistic behavior is also novel.
The point of departure and principal point of reference is economics. But Altruistically Inclined? will interest a broad range of scholars in the social and behavioral sciences, natural scientists concerned with the implications of research and debates within their fields for the conduct of work elsewhere, and educated lay readers curious about essential features of human nature.
Alexander J. Field is the Michel and Mary Orradre Professor of Economics at Santa Clara University.
Edited by Jane J. Mansbridge University of Chicago Press, 1990 Library of Congress JC328.2.B47 1990 | Dewey Decimal 320.011
A dramatic transformation has begun in the way scholars think about human nature. Political scientists, psychologists, economists, and evolutionary biologists are beginning to reject the view that human affairs are shaped almost exclusively by self-interest—a view that came to dominate social science in the last three decades.
In Beyond Self-Interest, leading social scientists argue for a view of individuals behavior and social organization that takes into account the powerful motivations of duty, love, and malevolence. Economists who go beyond "economic man," psychologists who go beyond stimulus-response, evolutionary biologists who go beyond the "selfish gene," and political scientists who go beyond the quest for power come together in this provocative and important manifesto.
The essays trace, from the ancient Greeks to the present, the use of self-interest to explain political life. They investigate the differences between self-interest and the motivations of duty and love, showing how these motivations affect behavior in "prisoners' dilemma" interactions. They generate evolutionary models that explain how altruistic motivations escape extinction.
They suggest ways to model within one individual the separate motivations of public spirit and self-interest, investigate public spirit and self-interest, investigate public spirit in citizen and legislative behavior, and demonstrate that the view of democracy in existing Constitutional interpretations is not based on self-interest. They advance both human evil and mothering as alternatives to self-interest, this last in a penetrating feminist critique of the "contract" model of human interaction.
Evolution, Games, and God explores how cooperation and altruism, alongside mutation and natural selection, play a critical role in evolution, from microbes to human societies. Inheriting a tendency to cooperate and self-sacrifice on behalf of others may be as beneficial to a population’s survival as the self-preserving instincts of individuals.
In this book, Stephen J. Pope argues that contemporary scientifically-based theories of the evolution of altruism provide important insights into one of the fundamental moral problems of Christian ethics, the natural basis of love and its ordering. He explores the contributions evolutionary theory makes to our understanding of the biological foundations of kin preference and reciprocal care, the limits of love, and the need for an ordering of love—issues relevant to any ethic that accords a central role to the deeply natural affections found in friendship, marriage, and the family. He proposes that understanding human nature in its broader evolutionary context brings to ethics a needed balance between the personal and biological dimensions of human nature.
In the context of Catholic ethics, Pope points out functional similarities between Thomas Aquinas's use of then-available scientific theories in his interpretation of the natural basis of primary relationships and Pope's own efforts to avoid the deficiencies that characterize contemporary Catholic interpretations of love based on personalism and existentialism. He concludes with a call for a multidimensional interpretation of love, one that incorporates scientifically-based theories about human nature together with an appreciation of the significance of motives, intentions, and freedom, for the ordering of human affections and moral responsibility. This book will be of interest to moral theologians, especially those concerned with the topics of love, justice, and natural law ethics.
Known as one of the most outstanding theologians of the twentieth century, Wolfhart Pannenberg is also considered a great interdisciplinary thinker. Now, essays and articles on science and theology that are central to understanding Pannenberg's theories have been collected into one volume.
Niels Henrik Gregersen, a former student of Pannenberg and now professor of systematic theology at Copenhagen University, has compiled the writings in four sections: Methodology, Creation and Nature's Historicity, Religion and Anthropology, and Meaning and Metaphysics. Included in this volume are:
•Translations of Pannenberg's principled argument for the consonance between science and religion, including contingency and laws of nature, field theories and space-time, and divine action
•Translations of Pannenberg's theory of theology as a rational hypothetical science, including his discussions with leading British and American scholars such as A. N. Whitehead, John Cobb, and Langdon Gilkey
•Previously unpublished articles on the problems between science and theology in the course of modern history, explaining why chance may be more important for theology than design
•Translations of seminal articles that articulate Pannenberg's understanding of the role of religion in human nature
•One of the few theological articles on aggression as a psychological and social phenomenon
With this collection, the essays of this important contemporary theologian and his illuminating views are presented in one convenient volume.
More than any other altruistic gesture, blood and organ donation exemplifies the true spirit of self-sacrifice. Donors literally give of themselves for no reward so that the life of an individual—often anonymous—may be spared. But as the demand for blood and organs has grown, the value of a system that depends solely on gifts has been called into question, and the possibility has surfaced that donors might be supplemented or replaced by paid suppliers.
Last Best Gifts offers a fresh perspective on this ethical dilemma by examining the social organization of blood and organ donation in Europe and the United States. Gifts of blood and organs are not given everywhere in the same way or to the same extent—contrasts that allow Kieran Healy to uncover the pivotal role that institutions play in fashioning the contexts for donations. Procurement organizations, he shows, sustain altruism by providing opportunities to give and by producing public accounts of what giving means. In the end, Healy suggests, successful systems rest on the fairness of the exchange, rather than the purity of a donor’s altruism or the size of a financial incentive.
Why do people keep fighting for social causes in the face of consistent failure? Why do they risk their physical, emotional, and financial safety on behalf of strangers? How do these groups survive high turnover and emotional burnout?
To explore these questions, Erika Summers Effler undertook three years of ethnographic fieldwork with two groups: anti–death penalty activists STOP and the Catholic Workers, who strive to alleviate poverty. In both communities, members must contend with problems that range from the broad to the intimately personal. Adverse political conditions, internal conflict, and fluctuations in financial resources create a backdrop of daily frustration—but watching an addict relapse or an inmate’s execution are much more devastating setbacks. Summers Effler finds that overcoming these obstacles, recovering from failure, and maintaining the integrity of the group require a constant process of emotional fine-tuning, and she demonstrates how activists do this through thoughtful analysis and a lucid rendering of their deeply affecting stories.
Research on Altruism and Love is a compendium of annotated bibliographies reviewing literature and research studies on the nature of love. An essay introduces each of the annotated bibliographies.
A variety of literature either directly related to science-and-love issues or supporting literature for those issues is covered in the Religious Love Interfaces with Science section. This annotated bibliography is unique in that it approaches the field from a decidedly religious perspective. It includes classical expositions of love that continue to influence contemporary scholars, including Platos' work on eros, the work and words of Jesus, Aristotle, Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther, Kierkegaard, and Ghandi, among others. The contemporary discussion includes Anders Nygren's theological arguments in his classic, Agape and Eros; Pitirim Sorokin; and others. An issue that often emerges in this literature is the question of the nature and definition of love.
A second annotated bibliography features current empirical research in the field of Personality and Altruism, with a focus on social psychology. Among the topics covered are the altruistic personality, altruistic behavior, empathy, helping behavior, social responsibility, and volunteerism. Methodologies are diverse, and studies include experiments, local and national surveys, naturalistic observation, and combinations of these.
The Evolutionary Biology annotated bibliography covers the most significant works on altruism and love in the field of biology and evolutionary psychology.
The fourth and final annotated bibliography in this volume is entitled Sociology of Faith-Based Volunteerism. Here the focus is on literature on the interface of helping behavior and religious organizations, as well as major pieces on voluntary associations.
"In this exciting and important work, Wyschogrod attempts to read contemporary ethical theory against the vast unwieldy tapestry that is postmodernism. . . . [A] provocative and timely study."—Michael Gareffa, Theological Studies
"A 'must' for readers interested in the borderlands between philosophy, hagiography, and ethics."—Mark I. Wallace, Religious Studies Review
Why do we volunteer time? Why do we contribute money? Why, even, do we vote, if the effect of a single vote is negligible? Rationality-based microeconomic models are hard-pressed to explain such social behavior, but Howard Margolis proposes a solution. He suggests that within each person there are two selves, one selfish and the other group-oriented, and that the individual follows a Darwinian rule for allocating resources between those two selves.
"Howard Margolis's intriguing ideas . . . provide an alternative to the crude models of rational choice that have dominated economics and political science for too long."—Times Literary Supplement
Political, intellectual, and academic discourse in the United States has been awash in political correctness, which has itself been berated and defended -- yet little understood. As a corrective, Nelson and Greene look at a more general process: adopting political positions to enhance one's reputation for trustworthiness both to others and to oneself.
Phillip Nelson and Kenneth Greene are Professors of Economics in the Department of Economics at the State University of New York, Binghamton.
As new medical technologies are developed, more and more human tissues—such as skin, bones, heart valves, embryos, and stem cell lines—are stored and distributed for therapeutic and research purposes. The accelerating circulation of human tissue fragments raises profound social and ethical concerns related to who donates or sells bodily tissue, who receives it, and who profits—or does not—from the transaction. Catherine Waldby and Robert Mitchell survey the rapidly expanding economies of exchange in human tissue, explaining the complex questions raised and suggesting likely developments. Comparing contemporary tissue economies in the United Kingdom and United States, they explore and complicate the distinction that has dominated practice and policy for several decades: the distinction between tissue as a gift to be exchanged in a transaction separate from the commercial market and tissue as a commodity to be traded for profit.
Waldby and Mitchell pull together a prodigious amount of research—involving policy reports and scientific papers, operating manuals, legal decisions, interviews, journalism, and Congressional testimony—to offer a series of case studies based on particular forms of tissue exchange. They examine the effect of threats of contamination—from HIV and other pathogens—on blood banks’ understandings of the gift/commodity relationship; the growth of autologous economies, in which individuals bank their tissues for their own use; the creation of the United Kingdom’s Stem Cell bank, which facilitates the donation of embryos for stem cell development; and the legal and financial repercussions of designating some tissues “hospital waste.” They also consider the impact of different models of biotechnology patents on tissue economies and the relationship between experimental therapies to regenerate damaged or degenerated tissues and calls for a legal, for-profit market in organs. Ultimately, Waldby and Mitchell conclude that scientific technologies, the globalization of tissue exchange, and recent anthropological, sociological, and legal thinking have blurred any strict line separating donations from the incursion of market values into tissue economies.
Current rhetorical and critical theory for the most part separates writing from consciousness and presumes relative truth to be the only possible expressive goal for rhetoric. These presumptions are reflected in our tradition of persuasive rhetoric, which values writing that successfully argues one person’s belief at the expense of another’s. Barbara Couture presents a case for a phenomenological rhetoric, one that values and respects consciousness and selfhood and that restores to rhetoric the possibility of seeking an all-embracing truth through pacific and cooperative interaction.
Couture discusses the premises on which current interpretive theory has supported relative truth as the philosophical grounding for rhetoric, premises, she argues, that have led to constraints on our notion of truth that divorce it from human experience. She then shows how phenomenological philosophy might guide the theory and practice of rhetoric, reanimating its role in the human enterprise of seeking a shared truth. She proposes profession and altruism as two guiding metaphors for the phenomenological activity of "truth-seeking through interaction."
Among the contemporary rhetoricians and philosophers who influence Couture are Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Martin Buber, Charles Altieri, Charles Taylor, Alasdair Maclntyre, and Jürgen Habermas.
In Unexpected Grace Bill Kramer offers a rare look into the human side of the world of scientific research. He goes behind the scenes of four scientific investigations on diverse aspects of the study of unlimited love and offers uplifting portraits of human beings struggling to understand and improve the complex issues facing them. He explores the dynamics between the researchers, the subjects they study, and the participants in the studies, and eloquently tells their personal stories. The stories touch on vastly different social and human issues, but all are connected by love.
The first is the story of Courtney Cowart, who was part of a group of theologians who met at Trinity Place in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001, not knowing her experience would become the subject of a study. The story of how the group struggled to survive and the formation of a practical, effective altruistic community is heartrending and inspiring. This is followed by a description of a University of California Santa Cruz psychology department study on the dynamics of friendship and prejudice that completely changed the perceptions of those involved.
The third study, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, focused on the benefits of religion on mental and physical health, which led its researcher to a greater understanding of forgiveness, humility, and grace. The final powerful story is about a physiology of love study conducted in Iowa City. Here, a functional MRI is the vehicle for measuring empathy and brings the researcher to wonder, "Is there a point at which empathy shuts down and we turn away?" Ultimately she comes to recognize that past experiences influences our ability to respond emphatically.
Each story candidly unveils the transformations the researchers and their subjects experienced in the course of their work. This illuminating book, with its unique insights, will appeal to educators, researchers, students, study participants, and everyone who wonders what goes on behind the scenes of investigative studies.
Stephen G. Post Templeton Press, 2003 Library of Congress BF637.H4P67 2003 | Dewey Decimal 177.7
What if we could prove that love heals mental illness and is vital to successful therapeutic outcomes in all areas of health care? What if we could prove that people who live more for others than for self have greater psychological well-being?
In Unlimited Love, Post examines the question of what we mean by "unlimited love"; his focus is not on "falling" into love, which is "altogether natural, easy, and delusional." Rather, he focuses on the difficult learned ascent that "begins with insight into the need for tolerance of ubiquitous imperfection, and matures into unselfish concern, gratitude, and compassion." He considers social scientific and evolutionary perspectives on human altruistic motivations, and he analyzes these perspectives in a wide interdisciplinary context at the interface of science, ethics, and religion.
In Unlimited Love, Stephen Post presents an argument for the creation of a new interdisciplinary field for the study of love and unlimited love, "engaging great minds and hoping to shape the human future away from endless acrimony, hatred, and violence."
In Unselfishness, Nicholas Rescher criticizes the stance of many contemporary moral philosophers and social theorists-that rationality conflicts with morality, and instead defends the position of historical thinkers who believed that the worth of altruism is irreducible and that its rationalization does not require recourse to prudential self-interest. To support his position, Rescher provides detailed examples, and a theoretical critique of utilitarian morality.
No matter what we do, however kind or generous our deeds may seem, a hidden motive of selfishness lurks—or so science has claimed for years. This book, whose publication promises to be a major scientific event, tells us differently. In Unto Others philosopher Elliott Sober and biologist David Sloan Wilson demonstrate once and for all that unselfish behavior is in fact an important feature of both biological and human nature. Their book provides a panoramic view of altruism throughout the animal kingdom—from self-sacrificing parasites to insects that subsume themselves in the superorganism of a colony to the human capacity for selflessness—even as it explains the evolutionary sense of such behavior.
Explaining how altruistic behavior can evolve by natural selection, this book finally gives credence to the idea of group selection that was originally proposed by Darwin but denounced as heretical in the 1960s. With their account of this controversy, Sober and Wilson offer a detailed case study of scientific change as well as an indisputable argument for group selection as a legitimate theory in evolutionary biology.
Unto Others also takes a novel evolutionary approach in explaining the ultimate psychological motives behind unselfish human behavior. Developing a theory of the proximate mechanisms that most likely evolved to motivate adaptive helping behavior, Sober and Wilson show how people and perhaps other species evolved the capacity to care for others as a goal in itself.
A truly interdisciplinary work that blends biology, philosophy, psychology, and anthropology, this book will permanently change not just our view of selfless behavior but also our understanding of many issues in evolutionary biology and the social sciences.
The Ways and Power of Love was originally published in 1954 when Pitirim Sorokin was in the twilight of his career and leading the Harvard Research Center in Creative Altruism. His elaborate scientific analysis of love with regard to its higher and lower forms, its causes and effects, its human and cosmic significance, and its core features constitutes the first study on this topic in world literature to date.
Sorokin was the one absolutely essential twentieth-century pioneer in the study of love at the interface of science and religion. Bringing The Ways and Power of Love back into print allows a new generation of readers to appreciate Sorokin's genius and to move forward with his endeavor at a time when civilization itself continues to be threatened by a marked inability to live up to the ideal of love for all humankind. It is certainly right to hope, with Sorokin, that progress in knowledge about love can move humanity forward to a better future. Turning the sciences toward the study of love is no easy task, but it can and must be done.
“From bullying on the playground to sexual harassment in the workplace, perfectly nice people often do perfectly awful things. But why? In this thoughtful and beautifully written book, Sanderson shows how basic principles of social psychology explain such behavior—and how they can be used to change it. A smart and practical guide to becoming a better and braver version of ourselves.”
—Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness“Why do so many people stand silent when someone does something bad? If you find yourself increasingly asking that question these days, you’re not alone—and Catherine Sanderson has written the book for you.”
—George Conway, founder of the Lincoln ProjectWhy do good people so often do nothing when a seemingly small action could make a big difference? A pioneering social psychologist explains why moral courage is so rare—and reveals how it can be triggered or trained.
We are bombarded every day by reports of bad behavior, from sexual harassment to political corruption and bullying belligerence. It’s tempting to blame evil acts on evil people, but that leaves the rest us off the hook. Silence, after all, can perpetuate cruelty. Why We Act draws on the latest developments in psychology and neuroscience to tackle an urgent question: Why do so many of us fail to intervene when we’re needed—and what would it take to make us step up?
A renowned psychologist who has done pioneering research on social norms, Catherine Sanderson was inspired to write this book when a freshman in her son’s dorm died twenty hours after a bad fall while drinking. There were many points along the way when a decision to seek help could have saved his life. Why did no one act sooner?
Cutting-edge neuroscience offers part of the answer, showing how deviating from the group activates the same receptors in the brain that are triggered by pain. But Sanderson also points to many ways in which our faulty assumptions about what other people are thinking can paralyze us. And she shares surprisingly effective and simple strategies for resisting the pressure to conform. Moral courage, it turns out, is not innate. Small details and the right training can make a big difference. Inspiring and potentially life transforming, Why We Act reveals that while the urge to do nothing is deeply ingrained, even the most hesitant would-be bystander can learn to be a moral rebel.