Western academic circles have fallen into a grotesque paradox on the issue of altruism because of setting up the conceptually incompatible dichotomy between the selfish and the altruistic. On the one hand, some scholars argue according to the so-called natural law that altruism is directly against the human self-interested nature of pursuing good and avoiding evil, and therefore is ″irrational″ and could truly exist as an ethical position in real life. On the other hand, some other scholars argue according to the justice standard of ″no harm to anyone″ that ″virtuous″ altruism without the basis of ″human nature″ is much morally nobler than ″immoral″ egoism on the basis of ″human nature″. In the context of Western moral philosophy, as a result, altruism has met with the so-called paradox of ″not according with human nature and yet being virtuous″. If we strictly and carefully analyze the three subtly distinct and closely related concepts of self-interest, the selfish, and the altruistic from the perspective of actual description, nevertheless, we can find out that one's self-interested nature will pursue not only those self-interests〖JP〗 merely benefiting oneself alone and thus desired by oneself, but also those self-interests benefiting other people and yet also desired by oneself. For this reason, it is totally possible that one can have mutually compatible selfish motives and altruistic motives in one's self-interested willingness at the same time, and then give them different weights according to the human logic in the conflicts between them in real life, either making an egoist choice that puts one's own interests above the interests of others, or making an altruistic choice that puts the interests of others above one's own interests. In this regard, the real existence of altruism as a specific manifestation of the human self-interested nature cannot at all be negated by the human self-interested nature or egoism. If we look from the perspective of the normative justice standard of ″no harm to anyone″, furthermore, an altruistic act may either become morally right precisely because it accords with this bottom line of justice, or become morally wrong precisely because it violates this bottom line of justice. Therefore, we have no reason to label all of altruistic acts virtuously or morally nobly without differentiation, but must specifically and concretely reveal their complex moral attributes in the interpersonal conflicts of real life by virtue of the just bottom line of ″no harm to anyone″. Both in the dimension of actual description and in the dimension of normative judgment, therefore, the Western dichotomy between the selfish and the altruistic on the issue of altruism contains serious one-sided distortions and thus is untenable.
刘清平. 利他主义“无人性有德性”的悖论解析[J]. 浙江大学学报(人文社会科学版), 2019, 5(1): 141-.
Liu Qingping. An Analysis of the Paradox of Altruism: Not According with Human Nature and Yet Being Virtuous?. JOURNAL OF ZHEJIANG UNIVERSITY, 2019, 5(1): 141-.