Can altruism be unified?

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Ramsey, Grant
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There is clearly a plurality of forms of altruism. Classically, biological altruism is distinguished from psychological altruism. Recent discussions of altruism have attempted to distinguish even more forms of altruism. I will focus on three altruism concepts, biological altruism, psychological altruism, and helping altruism. The questions I am concerned with here are, first, how should we understand these concepts? and second, what relationship do these concepts bear to one another? In particular, is there an essence to altruism that unifies these concepts? I suggest that while there is no essence to altruism, this does not mean that the array of altruism concepts is completely disunified. Instead, I propose we place all the concepts into a common framework--an altruism space--that could lead to new questions about how this space can be filled.