This working paper focuses both on theoretical analysis of altruism and its links with the promotion of active civil society. The main goal is to separate the different forms of altruism and to examine the factors contributing to the changing degrees of altruism. This paper also aims to specify the definition of altruism and the conceptual and empirical dilemmas related to it. The article will, first, look at how altruism has been understood within economic and sociological studies. The text will then – before focusing on the civil society links in the last section – concentrate on the main lines of empirical research on altruism, their main findings, and preferable future research developments. The overall goal of this text is to develop and focus the discussion and research on altruism by offering specifications, problems, and links with the empirical world – the search for a good communal life and a good society
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