Guy Elgat at IAI News:
Should one be altruistic and act for the sake of others, even at a cost to oneself? Should one’s actions be free of any egoistic motivations? Is selflessness a virtue one ought to strive for and cultivate? To many of us the answer to such questions is so self-evident that even raising them would appear to be either a sign of moral obtuseness or an infantile attempt at provocation. For Friedrich Nietzsche, the 19th Century “immoralist” German philosopher, however, the answer to these questions was by no means straightforward and unequivocal. Rather, he believed that altruism and selflessness are neither virtues to be unconditionally pursued and celebrated nor obligations grounded in absolute morality. Moreover, he thought that other-regard (regard for others) is something to be practiced, if at all, with care and moderation; indeed, in some cases selflessness could pose a great danger or even be a sign of deep existential malaise.