I see. Yes, I didn't like when I saw that Mother Theresa was the example they threw out as an extreme altruist. I don't hold her in very high regard for precisely what you mention.
I completely get what you're saying though for sure. I feel that I am a fairly altruistic person, but there is really no objective proof of that, which you could see, to prove that. Even in the case of, as stated in the article, a firefighter risking his life - in the face of true mortal danger - to save someone he doesn't even know, one could debate and say that is it true altruism, or is the person more interested in hero status?
Does true and absolute altruism need to be completely devoid of any benefit, or be a detriment, to the individual performing the act? When I have little money and I use it to take some family or friends out to dinner - is that altruistic of me? Or am I attempting to get something (love? returned favors?) in return? I would tell you that when I do something like that, I do not (at least consciously) want or expect anything in return. But, subconsciously, is it a desire and want to be a good person? Does wanting to be a good person negate any altruistic action as being altruistic? Could there really be true altruism then?
Alright, now that it seems that I've gone completely off the track of the original discussion on psychopathy vs altruism regarding empathy (which I don't think I've really addressed at all here), I'll just shush and see myself out. Haha.
But wait, maybe I do have more. Haha. Reading back through your statements, in the realm of psychology, is there ever definitive proof? I get that we often seem to have brain scans nowadays that seem to confirm, or maybe just correlate, different areas of the brain with different activities and emotions and what not. But isn't psychology at it's base the study of human behaviour? But then, you are arguing that the reason for the behaviour may not be empathy, because you don't have definitive proof. Hmm. Maybe I am trying to hard to make an argument for something that I really don't know enough about. And it's also not like I completely disagree with you either, which makes it more difficult. I guess the empathy aspect being put forth seems to make sense to me, but I would have to agree that without something more concrete as proof - it's hard to say and argue whether or not that's the true basis for these personality traits or not. Rather, it probably is far more complex than simple the ability to feel empathy or not.
Oh well. Nice chatting anyhow. :)