Does true altruism exist?

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Asclepius.
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As far as I see it all human interaction stems from some kind of personal motivation other than helping for helpings sake.

What do you think?
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Simbasoul
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Interestingly one of my son's touched on this iin his HPQ - I would say no - because even if someone is just doing it for the good of another - they get the "feel good" factor, so are getting something out of it.
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Tootles
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(Original post by Asclepius.)
As far as I see it all human interaction stems from some kind of personal motivation other than helping for helpings sake.

What do you think?
No.

Even the most noble and altruistic of acts are done for the feeling in one's own heart of having done a good thing. Thus, even the most expensive of good deeds bring a reward.
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Axiomasher
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(Original post by Asclepius.)
As far as I see it all human interaction stems from some kind of personal motivation other than helping for helpings sake.

What do you think?
Setting aside instinct, we only do things voluntarily because we're personally motivated, that doesn't mean we always do things for personal material or social benefit. It might be argued that where there's no such obvious benefit to us that we are probably in some way still doing selfless things for our own psychological benefit (self-esteem, personal image, etc.).
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OxFossil
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It is always possible to argue that a self-sacrificing act brings personal reward to the actor. If the sacrifice has been made unconsciously, then it can be argued that it was not truly altruistic. If it was made consciously, then one can always suggest that some sort of psychological reward was obtained - and this is not a testable proposition.

The argument that "True altruism does not exist" seems to be favoured by people who want to soothe their own bad conscience after they've done something selfish.
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TheNewLad
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(Original post by OxFossil)
It is always possible to argue that a self-sacrificing act brings personal reward to the actor. If the sacrifice has been made unconsciously, then it can be argued that it was not truly altruistic. If it was made consciously, then one can always suggest that some sort of psychological reward was obtained - and this is not a testable proposition.

The argument that "True altruism does not exist" seems to be favoured by people who want to soothe their own bad conscience after they've done something selfish.
Like OxFossil says, unconscious good deeds are altruistic. For example, if you jump to protect someone in a dangerous situation out of pure reflex.
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yankeedog1953
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i think people do sometimes help just for the sake of helping. seeing someone in need is the initial motivator. if this was not the case wouldnt it be common place for people to be on the lookout for someone in need so that they. could help and experience tha " feel good feeling " like it was a " high " from a drug? i think to give without even the HOPE of something in return is altruistic.
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OxFossil
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(Original post by TheNewLad)
Like OxFossil says, unconscious good deeds are altruistic. For example, if you jump to protect someone in a dangerous situation out of pure reflex.
Thanks for this. You've prompted me to mount a more active defence of "true altruism". The "reflex" action you suggest is seen in adults who protect children from cars, crazed gunmen, dog attacks etc. One would be hard pressed to demonstrate these acts were undertaken in anticipation of a "reward" that would outweigh any possible harm to the actor.
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QE2
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(Original post by Asclepius.)
As far as I see it all human interaction stems from some kind of personal motivation other than helping for helpings sake.

What do you think?
I don't think the concept of "absolute" applies to any human interaction or motivation. They are all driven by a complex mix of the selfish, altruistic, empathetic, reflexes, genetic, environmental, etc, etc.

It's like asking "does 'true' oxygen exist?"
Obviously it does, but not in everyday life. It is always found as a composite part of something else.
That's my take on it, anyway.
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Guru Jason
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I would say donating ones organs to people after death is altruistic. You don not benefit when you are alive and you certainly don't benefit when you're dead.
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bloomer36
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No, I don't think it does. We are all selfish by nature. Some more than others, some less than others.
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Guru Jason
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Really? I don't get a warm happy feeling being in the list. I could imagine maybe giving blood might. I see/feel no benefit to me being in the list.
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bloomer36
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I think something that comes very close to true altruism is a mother's love for her child.
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bloomer36
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(Original post by Guru Jason)
Really? I don't get a warm happy feeling being in the list. I could imagine maybe giving blood might. I see/feel no benefit to me being in the list.
What about when you first signed up to be on that list, though? What made you make that decision?
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Guru Jason
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(Original post by bloomer36)
What about when you first signed up to be on that list, though? What made you make that decision?
Suppose my friends were talking about it. Figured it makes no difference to me what happens to my body when I die.
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Simbasoul
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But you know that whomever recieved your organs is going to be very grateful to the person who gave them over....you are that person....you can anticipate that gratitude now....
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Kallisto
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(Original post by Asclepius.)
As far as I see it all human interaction stems from some kind of personal motivation other than helping for helpings sake.

What do you think?
Such people who help you or doing a favor without any conditions are rarely, if you find those people, you should treat them well and being grateful.
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Picnic1
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Of course true altrusim exists. And there is no excuse for it not to be more frequent.Without altrusim that doesn't have a selfish motive, society erodes like an eventually unrepairable rust.

Without society, family loses it confidence within a generation (and that is what Thatcher neglected to mention or didn't realise).
Because a family is not just a selfish unit selfishly protecting individuals but it is a kind of vehicle through society. If there is no society to be a vehicle through then family itself, rightly or wrongly, becomes regarded as a selfish unit.

And then, finally, without family, individuals lose their confidence.

So, all from the neo liberalist Thatcherist lie that to be 'individual' you must defeat or look down on socialist unions, the destruction of the individual in to scared, dull, superficially nice, neo-liberalist robots. The Conservatives had the gall to run the campaign 'Labour isn't working' about the supposedly high unemployment rate of 1 million under Labour in the 1970s. Within a few years, the unemployment rate had risen to 3 million under the Conservatives. As this means that more people were dependent on welfare, the Conservatives are utter liars about what they think of welfare. They don't mind people being on it as long as it results in more Conservative votes overall.
Last edited by Picnic1; 1 year ago
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yankeedog1953
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U suppose charitable contributions are greater because the urge to help isnt sparked fr
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yankeedog1953
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sparked from ppure altruism alone
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