Mark, a respected moral philosopher, is convinced that people are fundamentally good. Ben, who investigates intellectual property theft, is equally convinced that every seeming act of kindness is simply a more indirect route toward self-gratification. They have maintained an unlikely friendship since childhood. When Mark derides Ben's belief that unrestrained self-interest is the truth of human nature, Ben proposes a bet to prove it by tempting an unarguably ethical, socially conscious scientist into betraying the people who desperately depend on him. As it soon becomes clear, Ben is really out to prove that he can get Mark himself to do anything--however unconscionable--simply by making the cost of maintaining his humanity too high.