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Our panel of 88 professional philosophers has responded to

Question of the day

I think so. Consider the example you gave. A's selflessness (her generosity, anyway) is manifested by her sending the money to B, whether or not B ends up accepting the money. Now, if A somehow knows that B will return the money immediately and is counting on B to return it, then A's selflessness is only apparent rather than genuine. But otherwise, I see no reason why A's action can't be considered genuinely selfless, whether or not the recipient in fact keeps the money. Further, I see no reason why C must be deemed selfish just because he accepts the money: it might be that, through no fault of his own, C desperately needs the money.

What I think genuine selflessness does require is scarcity: if a particular resource is available to all in unlimited supply, then no one can genuinely make a gift of that resource, let alone a selfless gift. So I don't think there can be selflessness in heaven, if heaven is as it's described by various religions.