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Altruism

Discussion in 'The Pub' at netrider.net.au started by BruiserMadden, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. 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.
    8) 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?
     
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  2. Have a read of the second testament.
    That bloke Jesus was the ultimate example of altruism.
    discuss.
     
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  3. religious debates on other threads mate. lets keep this to personal philosophic views on altruism rather than examination of ancient examples. I understand religion and altruism can be intertwined, but the religious debate usually gets ugly.
     
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  4. My theory on the matter is this...

    I come to this forum to talk bikes.

    The end.

    yawn.
     
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  5. I don't care for the religious aspect of it Bruiser.
    I'm mentioning more as an example.
     
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  6. well then looking at it superficially you would conclude that one of Jesus' many "seemingly" altruistic acts was the ultimate altruistic act and the ultimate sacrifice - his life. Except for the resurrection bit. But that is irrelevant, the argument that since people die altruistically for whatever cause is a good rebuke to "Option 2". What can someone possibly get in return from an altruistic act if they die?
    2 Points:
    -They believe they will go to "an" afterlife, and will be duly rewarded for their actions there.
    -That death is not the ultimate sacrifice but instead the 'easy way out'. Depends on your personal philosophies.

    I think both of these arguements are valid.

    bambam fyi this sub-forum is specifically meant to be non-bike related. :roll:
     
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  7. the answer to mono's question is

    A: because you're a decent human being

    so many people are not

    altruistic acts happen more than u realise. a person who choses to put up with the burdon of a fly or roach in the home rather than kill it is being atruistic

    there's nothing wrong with that. tis normal to me. there is something wrong with people who only do something if there's something in it for them.

    i hate those people

    cheers :cool:
     
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  8. does a person who lets their family starves because they will not kill a cow in order to provide them with sustenance befit your description of an altruistic act? perhaps a bad example, but its not so clear cut.
     
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  9. Not being a clear cut concept I believe altruism is the sum total of all the three options and then some.
    You will never find a clear definition.
     
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  10. oi bruiser, you ever studied any form of psychology?
     
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  11. yes mate, currently revising for Yr12 Pysch exam :)
     
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  12. Finishing up next week or is the yr 12 psych accelerated?
    You also said you are doing year 11 philosophy.
     
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  13. as far as I know Psych exam is early/mid next month (i'm never good with dates). Yr12's finish early, Yr11's stay on regardless of if they're studying a Yr12 subject.
    Not studying Yr11 philosophy, partook in a very brief introduction to philosophy as a 5 week elective. Wish I could have done it as a subject, but my school doesn't offer it.

    But we digress, I want to know what people think!
     
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  14. it is a very powerful tool, when used a little more elegantly ;)
     
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  15. Read up on the evolution of altruism. Hard science > philosophy.

    An altruistic population will prevail over a self-interested population, but an altruistic population is not a stable population, and self-interested individuals present within that population (or who enter through mutation or migration) will have a great fitness advantage over altruists, and will proliferate while altruists decline.

    The point is, 'be as charitable as you want. Your genes won't survive'.
     
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  16. To quote someone who I don't remember,

    "If to feel good about yourself after helping someone else is selfish, I want to be surrounded by selfish people."

    Option 2 for me.

    Why would you do somthing if it didn't make you feel "good" - why do you have people "addicted"/frequent users of legal or illegal drugs?
     
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  17. depending on your outlook, to not feel "bad"
    acting in order to not feel bad, is not as simple as being the opposite of acting in order to feel good.
     
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  18. With the same net gain though? to feel better then they felt previously?
     
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  19. mathematically, probably.
    but acting out of guilt (by previous experience), or conversely acting because of moral conditioning to avoid the "bad" feeling is far more selfless than acting in order to promote a rewarding emotion above and beyond that of normality...IMO of course :)
     
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  20. momo wrote

    survival of genes depends on how fckable we are

    your point is true, but spare a thought for the other end of the scale, population, woollahra. they live in the fortruss, they have reticulation system running 24/7 during water restrictions and.......

    they had to step all over the lives of others to get were they are today

    ^thats not fckable to me at all. many woman would deter

    we evolved from monkeys and our survival, unfortuately, is still instinctive to 'the fittest'.

    BUT we are still going thru the process of evolution and because of our unnatural state [currency, no hunting etc] we now define fittness as money and

    we are in the process of a cross over period where survival [of our genes] will evolve once more to become wiser


    BUT

    those who are breeding are teenagers who are as unwise as one can get and those who have talent are professionals who are not breeding so the evolutionary process is at threat to be taking a backward step

    cheers
     
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