The question of whether there are any actions prompted by other than selfish motives has been a controversial issue throughout the history of ethical theory. From the time of the ancient Greek Sophists to the present day, there have been philosophers who have maintained that any action professed to have been done in the name of benevolence is nothing more than hypocrisy; that all so-called friendship is but a blind to conceal one's own selfish interests; and that the claim of being public-spirited is a farce often intended to fool the public, in many instances effectively fooling oneself. All of this implies a conception of human nature with which Hume has no sympathy at all. He believes that those who hold such views are under the influence of either a corrupted heart or superficial reasoning. Closely allied with this view and in some respects forming a part of it is the assertion that there can
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selfish motives, selfish interests, certain unique characteristics