If philosophers were paid to answer questions on sites like this one, I think we'd agree that there would be more responses. But do you think the quality of responses would decrease? Is something that one is willing to do for free intrinsically more virtuous than if it is done with a promised reward?

Fascinating question! Perhaps you are right that if we were paid for our responses, there would probably be more responses, but this might not mean that the responses would be better in quality. I have not seen a response yet keeping in mind I have not read all the responses that seemed to me to be done in a cursory manner, or in a way that would be less in quality if the question - response format was conducted professionally. I suggest that there may be no greater value as a rule for the superiority of value when persons act voluntarily or for free or for a promised reward money. Someone might volunteer to help the poor and do so because they have inherited great wealth, whereas another person who does not have such wealth and wants to help the poor may need to be paid if she is going to afford to do the work. Both persons might be equally compassionate and courageous Still, there are cases when it seems that a voluntary act may have greater merit: if someone refuses to be nice unless they are paid, that would seem to pale against almost any voluntary nice / generous action. Also, on speculating about how philosophers might respond on this site if they were paid, a number of factors might come into play. Imagine that for every response that a philosopher makes, the payment would go directly to assist refugees in Africa. Of course, the amount might matter too. In the case of what would seem a trivial amount among reasonably well off persons say, middle class in USA or Europe being paid 25 cents USD might seem absurd, but then again it is sobering to realize that in some parts of the world that 25 cents would be both needed and put to good use.

If you are willing to pay me to write more in the way of donating the equivalent of $100 to Oxfam I doubt that it is in my power to respond with a better reply, but I would be willing to put two or three hours more in seeking out different aspects of your excellent question.

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