'The chief problem of human life', wrote Auguste Comte, 'is the subordination of egoism to altruism.' This collection examines the nature and value of altruism as a moral virtue, restoring it to its proper place at the centre of our moral and political thinking.
The first five essays in the collection explore the relationship between altruism and other moral concepts such as self-interest, autonomy, community and impartiality. The five essays in the second part show how altruism is invoked in practical moral problems, including aid to developing countries, the market for human body parts, multiculturalism and the politics of recognition, and medical ethics. Through these discussions, the central role of altruism in moral thinking is brought into sharper focus.