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That sounds a lot like the neoclassical economist's argument that everything everybody does is actually all in their own self-interest, which then goes on to increasingly tortured lengths to explain things like altruistic punishment that are pretty well-demonstrated in the lab, but don't pop up in neoclassical models until they are confronted with uncomfortable facts. If your definition of "altruism" is such that you can explain away any possible example of it, then the issue is not that altruism doesn't exist, but rather that your definition of it is so odd as to not match the common meaning of the word.



Alternatively, it can also indicate that going to great lengths to litigate the difference between "true altruism" and "signalled altruism" is unproductive. Under this paradigm, the final effect is more important than navel gazing about secret intentions.




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