Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

Altruism, self-control, and justice: What Aristotle really said

Graham F. Wagstaff a1
a1 Department of Psychology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZA, United Kingdom [email protected]


As support for his position, Rachlin refers to the writings of Aristotle. However, Aristotle, like many social psychological theorists, would dispute the assumptions that altruism always involves self-control, and that altruism is confined to acts that have group benefits. Indeed, for Aristotle, as for equity theory and sociobiology, justice exists partly to curb the unrestrained actions of those altruists who are a social liability.