Many readers here are already familiar with the concept of pathological altruism because of Barbara Oakley’s book Pathological Altruism (Oxford University Press, 2012), which is positively reviewed by Jared Taylor at American Renaissance. But outside HBD blogs, most people are probably unfamiliar with the concept.
That may be changing. From the Wall Street Journal:
A simple concept that could revolutionize scientific and social thought.
By James Taranto, WSJ, June 14, 2013
We don’t think we’d ever heard of Oakland University, a second-tier institution in suburban Rochester, Mich., but Barbara Oakley, an associate professor in engineering, may help put the place on the map. Earlier this week Oakland’s Oakley published a fascinating paper, “Concepts and Implications of Altruism Bias and Pathological Altruism,” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The paper is a concise summary of an innovative idea that informed Oakley’s two recent books: “Cold-Blooded Kindness: Neuroquirks of a Codependent Killer, or Just Give Me a Shot at Loving You, Dear, and Other Reflections on Helping That Hurts” (Prometheus, 2011) and “Pathological Altruism” (Oxford University Press, 2012). The former has been described as a true-crime thriller; the latter is a dense, 496-page collection of 31 academic papers, edited by Oakley and three other scholars.
The PNAS paper has the virtue of brevity, running only eight pages despite including 110 footnotes. Yet it’s remarkable for its breadth and depth. It introduces a simple yet versatile idea that could revolutionize scientific and social thought.
If you haven’t already, you should really read Jared Taylor’s review of Oakley’s book.