By Colin Grant
Separated from its anchorage in faith, ethics has the social sciences in seeing people as essentially characterised through self-interest, in order that altruism is both naively idealistic or arrogantly self-sufficient. Colin supply contends that, as a contemporary secular idea, altruism is a parody at the self-giving love of Christianity, in order that its dismissal represents a social leveling that loses the depths that theology makes intelligible and faith makes attainable. He argues that to dispense with altruism is to dispense with God and with the divine transformation of human percentages.
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Extra info for Altruism and Christian Ethics (New studies in Christian Ethics)
Edward O. : Harvard University Press, 1978), p. 165. Mary Midgley, Evolution as a Religion (London and New York: Methuen, 1985), pp. 126f. Explanations for altruism 19 signi®cant aspects of animal behavior, is indicative of a prior foundational vision. The most obvious candidate for the source of that vision is the pervasive culture that shapes the wider background against which sociobiology has developed. ''36 That ideology centers particularly on this assumption of the primacy of self-interest, whether in the intellectual vision since Descartes, in the political theory of democratic individualism, or in the economic version of laissez-faire, free-market capitalism.
Prominent approaches like the con¯ict theory identi®ed most readily with Karl Marx and the exchange theory promoted by Homans and Blau3 re¯ect direct assumptions of an egocentric view of humanity. Here sociology represents an expanded version of this vision in terms of the collective interests of classes and other kinds of interest groups. Not only individuals, but their associations as well, are characterized by a fundamentally acquisitive drive to possess and control. Organization theory, pioneered by Weber and developed by people like Taylor and Simon, clearly re¯ects this same vision of human nature.
For it is not adequate to explain the risks of apparent genetic altruism by theories such as kin selection which assures the perpetuation of the same genes. Sociobiologists also feel constrained to extend this elimination of altruism from the level of genetic explanation to that of the phenotype. So the actual behavior of individual animals is not only not altruistic in the genetic sense, that is, in not actually endangering the genes that they share with close kin who are saved by their apparent altruism, but there is a compulsion to explain away any connotation of altruism attaching to the behavior itself.
Altruism and Christian Ethics (New studies in Christian Ethics) by Colin Grant