Does a good deed count as truly “good” if doing it makes you feel better? Can an act be genuinely “altruistic” if it’s not purely selfless? Philosophers have debated that question ever since the time of Plato. Now a team of researchers has undertaken an empirical study of that existential quandary. The question that they investigate puts a slight twist on the age-old philosophical problem: If a good deed yields positive emotional benefits for the person who does it, does our awareness...

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