Is there such a thing as genuine altruism? Why or why not?© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com July 23, 2018, 1:46 am ad1c9bdddf
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1. Is there such a thing as genuine altruism? Why or why not?
Different theorists argue that altruism is, or is not, genuine. For those who argue against genuine altruism, they point out that there is always some level of self-interest in every helping behavior. The other side of the argument is that people morally help others for the sake of helping another person, and it is genuine.
Say, for instance, let's say that a person sees a stranger in the middle of a river, flailing helplessly and who is clearly in distress. Without assistance, it is clear that the person in the river ill drown. The rescuer dives into the lake and drags the victim to safety. The question here is if the rescuer acted completely selflessly? Or, is self-interest involved in even the noblest altruistic act? One theory explaining altruistic behavior comes from Biology, which considers how our conception of right and wrong may have been wired into us through evolution. However, another consideration is altruism from the psychological standpoint. This view propose altruism in terms of importance to the role of an individual's psychology and his/her intentions when committing an action, which potentially leaves more possibility for genuinely altruistic acts to occur.
Again it is a matter of theoretical position. For those who think there is always some level of self-interest involved might argue that the Rescuer only helped the person to get some form of recognition as a hero or for some other self-interested reason. Others would argue the opposite, For example, in Washington DC when that jetliner fell into the Patomec River in freezing water, a stranger jumped into that ice water to save a stranger. Proponents of genuine altruism would not question his genuine altruism, and would probably not cheapen his rescue of that woman by saying otherwise (http://able2know.org/topic/13878-1).
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