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View Poll Results: Does altruism exist?
Yes 9 52.94%
No 6 35.29%
I don't know. 2 11.76%
Voters: 17. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-11-2013, 03:25 PM   #11 (permalink)
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It depends on what you mean by existing. Pure altruism does not evolve because it means you give away something and get nothing in return. That's not something that goes rewarded. But reciprocal kindness, however, is a great strategy. We both have backs that need scratching at some point in time, we help eachother out. This means that kindness evolves and sometimes, it can look a lot like altruism. Perhaps so much that the two are almost identical.

Let's say you see a starving child on the telly as part of some charity program. Seeing the starving child stirs you to give money to the charity. You could argue that it is an act of altruism because the starving child or the charity will not give you anything in return. But you could also say that it is not altruism because the reason you reacted that way was because we humans have not evolved in a world where there are TVs. When we see people starving on TV, our biology doesn't know these people are not part of our group. So, you subconsciously reacted as if the starving person is part of your community and could reciprocate your kindness in the future.

So we're capable of acts that closely resemble altruism, particularly now that we live in a world which is so far from the sort of environments we've spent most of our evolutionary history as humans in. F.ex many people have strong, compassionate feelings for animals. It's likely not a capability we evolved because it's a great strategy to get emotional about animals, but rather something that happens because we've started treating and viewing animals more like people. So the compassion we've evolved to have for others in our group can f.ex bleed over to pets.

Is it altruism then?

edit :

Sometimes writing on my Nexus 10 these days. Auto correct made a mess a couple of places.

And for the sake of argument, I'll answer the poll with no with the argument that what looks like altruism evolved out of selfishness and thus it is not real altruism .. even though I can think of a couple of weaknesses with that argument.
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Last edited by tore; 04-12-2013 at 03:16 AM.
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Old 04-14-2013, 02:05 PM   #12 (permalink)
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whats altruisme?
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Old 04-14-2013, 02:25 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Altruism or selflessness is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures and a core aspect of various religious traditions, though the concept of "others" toward whom concern should be directed can vary among cultures and religions. Altruism or selflessness is the opposite of selfishness.
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Old 04-14-2013, 02:28 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I get a life boner when I hold the door open for somebody, so no.
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Old 04-14-2013, 02:32 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoxyRollah View Post
Altruism or selflessness is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures and a core aspect of various religious traditions, though the concept of "others" toward whom concern should be directed can vary among cultures and religions. Altruism or selflessness is the opposite of selfishness.
in other words a societie where people care for each other
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Old 04-14-2013, 02:34 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Goofle11 View Post
I get a life boner when I hold the door open for somebody, so no.
How often do you open the door for people....?
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Old 04-14-2013, 02:37 PM   #17 (permalink)
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i always hold the open for someone, and whenn there is no space in the bus, i let someone sit next to me
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Old 04-14-2013, 02:47 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by zinia7 View Post
in other words a society where people care for each other
not necessarily more one where people are motivated to do something because they are truly feeling it... say for instance I held the door open for you because you had packages in your hands, and I did it because I truly felt like you needed my help... not because I was trained to do it from a young age... and if I didn't feel like you needed the help I wouldn't... my motivations would be purely from the heart and if not they wouldn't become actions...does that make sense?
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Old 04-14-2013, 02:50 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoxyRollah View Post
not necessarily more one where people are motivated to do something because they are truly feeling it... say for instance I held the door open for you because you had packages in your hands, and I did it because I truly felt like you needed my help... not because I was trained to do it from a young age... and if I didn't feel like you needed the help I wouldn't... my motivations would be purely from the heart and if not they wouldn't become actions...does that make sense?
it makes sense, that is what makes us human after all
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:36 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I remember reading a quote in a book from the Dalai Lama. It was something along the lines of being selfless to help one's self, the reward for selflessness is happiness. So I guess yes and no.
But then bettering one's self also takes the strain off those who come into contact with you as well so it goes back to selflessness again.

I think altruism is relative to a specific scenario. For example, it is more altruistic to go out of your way to help someone up after they have fallen, than to kick them in the face for your own amusement.

You can argue that you do both through your self for selfish reasons, but the latter has less empathy so is less altruistic.
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