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‘Are they My poor?’: The problem of altruism in the world of strangers

‘Are they My poor?’: The problem of altruism in the world of strangers,10.1080/13698230410001702762,Critical Review of International Social and Politi

‘Are they My poor?’: The problem of altruism in the world of strangers   (Citations: 3)
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How should we decide when to be altruistic – who are the poor we ought to help? Empirical evidence reveals that in practice altruistic behaviour is strongly influenced by contextual factors such as the cost of helping, perceptions of the person in need, and the number of other people who are in a position to offer help. Philosophers often argue that we should discount such factors, but I claim that altruism is better understood as doing one's proper share of the work of meeting nee. Three possible mechanisms for achieving this are explored: creating formal institutions to discharge our altruistic duties, imposing a legal duty of rescue on individuals, and fostering norms of responsibility that pick out individuals as salient helpers.
Journal: Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy , vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 106-127, 2002
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