Seeing as I'm currently studying Altruism as part of my Yr11 context course, and momo provided an excellent introduction to the concept, I thought I may as well start a thread. Now whilst I'm SURE that there has been other discussion on this topic, albeit not in a dedicated thread, I'd ask that you save the whining that it's already been talked about and just not post. Not that any philosophically respectable individual would do so. Continued discussion and debate can only be a good thing. Also, can we PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE remember the wise advice that in philosophy: A) Nothing is sacred. Everything is debatable. Attack the argument, not the individual. Ok a few points and viewpoints from me. Option 1 - Since an altruistic act by definition costs the altruist more than the sum benefit derived from it, it is living proof of mans innate humanity to man, proof that human nature, is at its core, good, and that we should treat others as we desire to be treated. Option 2 - It can be argued that an altruistic act by definition may not cost more than the sum benefit derived from it, and explained by intangible kick-backs, e.g a general feeling of moral superiority and righteousness/ a "good" feeling. Therefore the definition of the term "Altruistic" can be called into question. It also poses the notion that perhaps an Altruistic act is at it's core a selfish one, for the altruist is only partaking in a perceived selfless act to (usually sub-conciously) reap the moral benefits of said action. Option 3 - The sum benefit derived from an action is irrelevant to whether a certain action can be considered altruistic - the motive is unimportant - what matters is the effect the action had upon the altruists environment. These are three broad points I can see that one can argue from. Any others? Now of course, all of this opens up the infinitely open ended question, "What is an altruistic act". Any attempt to generalise what it may encompass can be easily argued, but I encourage any theories. So what do you think?