Psychology/philosophy professionals to the rescue 13 replies

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MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#1 9 years ago

I'm currently writing a paper on economics and need to find some general information (title of important books/articles or names of theories or keywords) on altruism (specifically giving away valuable possesions/information without direct/financial compensation).

Does anyone here study psychology, philosophy or happen to know where I should start looking?

So far I found the "social exchange theory", which seems to be helpful, but I lack the oversight over the topic to decide if this is real the state-of-the-art.

Any help would be appreciated :)




Junk angel

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#2 9 years ago

I think it might be interesting to look at Dahl and Republikanism overall. Since that expects citizens to be at least to a certain level altrusitic as opposed to democracy.




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#3 9 years ago

All supposedly 'selfless' acts are entirely selfish. As for help, couldnt find much, though you could try James Halloran.




TodtheWraith

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#4 9 years ago
Sedistix;4946715All supposedly 'selfless' acts are entirely selfish.

I've always said this but few others can wrap their minds around it. Satanism FTW!!




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#5 9 years ago
TodtheWraith;4946725I've always said this but few others can wrap their minds around it. Satanism FTW!!

I wouldn't put to much stock in that Doom 3 Avatar I have on my profile. I have as much regard for Satanism as I do any other religion, which isn't saying much.

Altruism in economics doesn't sound right, maybe its just the way it appears.

Fancy, are you going to share some of your work here, or are you only seeking assistance?




Locomotor

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#6 9 years ago

I think the most useful perspective is that of evolutionary psychologists (though there are many useful ones). May as well start with the popular pioneer of the field, EO Wilson. His On Human Nature won the Pulitzer and ignited many a debate, and he covers altruism nicely in that book. Richard Dawkin's The Selfish Gene also deals with altruism, but from a genetic level, which may be getting too far from the social theory aspects that you're probably looking for. (It ought to be noted that so far evolutionary psychology is a very heavily speculative science, but it's coming from the right direction.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reciprocal_altruism

Other than evolutionary psychologists I haven't dug much into the topic of altruism (except maybe, uh, Ayn Rand, but I think we can leave her out). I think what you or your professor may be looking for is a perspective built from game theory, which I am not really well learned in, outside of the basic examples.

Best of luck, hope I helped even a bit. (Or am I hoping you succeed for my sake? I don't think so: :beer:)




TodtheWraith

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#7 9 years ago

Sedistix;4946741I wouldn't put to much stock in that Doom 3 Avatar I have on my profile. I have as much regard for Satanism as I do any other religion, which isn't saying much.

Altruism in economics doesn't sound right, maybe its just the way it appears.

Fancy, are you going to share some of your work here, or are you only seeking assistance?

It's just that what you stated above is a Satanist view. I hadn't seen the Doom 3 avatar til after. I'm not even sure if the flipped Christian star represents modern Satanism or 1600s fictional Satanism.




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#8 9 years ago

Thanks for the input everyone! I'll be sure to check those names you mentioned out.

Sedistix;4946741 Altruism in economics doesn't sound right, maybe its just the way it appears.

Fancy, are you going to share some of your work here, or are you only seeking assistance?[/QUOTE] Altruism has been used in the past to explain a few things in ecomonics but that approach is now considered obsolete. I'll have to read a bit about it myself before I can confirm this result though, right now I'd guess that altruism is an option if the alternative is simply to difficult or costly.

As for my work, if you're interested I'll tell you a bit about it, the whole thing is going to be about 40 pages though so that will probably be a bit too much for your average pub-thread :)

The paper is about "open innovation" which is a relatively new field in innovation management that deals with searching for information relevant to a company's R&D department outside of a company (open source software is the parade example). I'm supposed to write about knowledge disclosure and knowledge protection and their interactions with search for external knowledge. The general idea is that you have to share some information if you want to receive it and the obvious question is how much you should share and what you should protect.

The reason I'm interested in altruism is that some companies disclose information without (seemingly) expecting anything in return (for example, it is common that a worker calls a friend in another company and asks how to use that new software and his friend will answer). Currently the general opinion seems to be that knowledge is disclosed voluntarily because people expect a return of the favour (which is where game theory and social exchange theory come in). That sounds quite reasonable, but I'm trying to cover all possible reasons before I agree with the consensus.

[QUOTE=Locomotor;4946816]I think the most useful perspective is that of evolutionary psychologists (though there are many useful ones). May as well start with the popular pioneer of the field, EO Wilson. His On Human Nature won the Pulitzer and ignited many a debate, and he covers altruism nicely in that book. Richard Dawkin's The Selfish Gene also deals with altruism, but from a genetic level, which may be getting too far from the social theory aspects that you're probably looking for. (It ought to be noted that so far evolutionary psychology is a very heavily speculative science, but it's coming from the right direction.)

Reciprocal altruism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Other than evolutionary psychologists I haven't dug much into the topic of altruism (except maybe, uh, Ayn Rand, but I think we can leave her out). I think what you or your professor may be looking for is a perspective built from game theory, which I am not really well learned in, outside of the basic examples.

Best of luck, hope I helped even a bit. (Or am I hoping you succeed for my sake? I don't think so: :beer:)

Those sound like good suggestions, the evolutionary approach is somewhat of a trend in economics right now so using that may be a good idea and Dawkins is a famous name as well, so citing him here or there might make a good impression too.

As for game theory, you're exactly right, my professor suggested that and I already found a few sources that create a game-theoretic model for this problem.




SpiderGoat

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#9 9 years ago

History is full of charity and generosity by kings and other rulers. However, though there seldom was direct compensation, their motives were almost never altruistic. See for example the Hellenistic kings and Greek cities (evergetism).

History not to the rescue... Unless this kind of 'fake' altruism is good enough? You might also search for some introductions to antropology.




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#10 9 years ago

SpiderGoat;4947431History is full of charity and generosity by kings and other rulers. However, though there seldom was direct compensation, their motives were almost never altruistic. See for example the Hellenistic kings and Greek cities (evergetism).

History not to the rescue... Unless this kind of 'fake' altruism is good enough? You might also search for some introductions to antropology.

That kind of altruism where some form of indirect compensation is expected seems to be very common in my field as well so this also helps.

Since my work deals with disclosure of information (especially those related to innovations or technologies) I'll probably have to search for somewhat different examples in history though. Maybe cooperation between intelligence networks would be a good example for that.




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