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Kwahu Jakquai's picture

Do you believe altruism is moral or not moral? Also perhaps we could ask if selfishness is moral or or not moral?

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algebe's picture
Perhaps you should define the

Perhaps you should define the terms first.

Kwahu Jakquai's picture
Altruism - the belief in or

Altruism - the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.

Kwahu Jakquai's picture
Cambridge dictionary

Cambridge dictionary
Altruism - the attitude of caring about others and doing acts that help them although you do not get anything by doing those acts

Kwahu Jakquai's picture
Good enough? Or should I

Good enough? Or should I continue?

Kwahu Jakquai's picture
We can focus on Altruism and

We can focus on Altruism and forget about selfishness since it will most likely be covered in the topic of altruism.

algebe's picture
"although you do not get

"although you do not get anything by doing those acts"

I'm interested in this part of your second definition. Is that really possible?

Altruism actually feels good. It earns respect and status. If you're a Christian, it earns you frequent flyer points for your trip to the great Borg cube in the sky.

Kwahu Jakquai's picture
So you think it earns you

So you think it earns you status? It makes you feel good? I'm interested in your response to the definition.

algebe's picture
Altruism (or the illusion

Altruism (or the illusion thereof) certainly earns you status. Look at Mother Teresa. She arguably helped no-one but herself, but she put on a great altruism show. And they've made the evil hag a saint.

I've been on the receiving and giving ends of altruism, so I know which one feels better. I'm not saying that altruism is wrong. I just think we should be honest about it.

The other part of your question was about selfishness. If you're an Ayn Rand objectivist, that's the highest ideal, isn't it? I suppose again it's a matter of definitions and perspectives. A politician who was receiving a high taxpayer-funded salary and enjoying all kinds of privileges accused me of being selfish because I wanted to keep a bit more than half of the income that I earned through my own efforts.

Kwahu Jakquai's picture
So you are an Ayn Rand

So you are an Ayn Rand Objectivist?

Kwahu Jakquai's picture
Do you think selfishness is a

Do you think selfishness is a virtue?

Kwahu Jakquai's picture
Is it impossible to feel good

Is it impossible to feel good from being altruistic?

Kwahu Jakquai's picture


It's just a topic don't have to reply if you feel uncomfortable.

Randomhero1982's picture
There are many subtle forms

There are many subtle forms of Altruism, i would say true alturism or an extreme form would be in the form of the bee or wasp, they will give up the chance to reproduce in order raise the offspring of a queen...

Now is this morally wrong? I would say no, they work harmoniously and without human intervention or obstruction i'm sure they would flourish even more so.

Kwahu Jakquai's picture
Well thought out.

Well thought out.

Kwahu Jakquai's picture
If someone asks for help, is

If someone asks for help, is there any responsibility to others to help?

Randomhero1982's picture
In evolutionary sense I would

In evolutionary sense I would think it would depend on the situation... some clutches of chicks may have one too many that isn't being fed, essentially the runt of the litter.

It may be more advantageous to allow it to die in order to raise the others to have the attributes and strengths required in order to survive.

I suppose we can adapt this for an analogy for humans... let's take a warzone scenario...

You have a man down in a heavily guarded kill zone, your survival will keep your squad alive, your death however will mean death to the rest of your team...

In this case it is more advantageous to save yourself for the greater good.

There's obviously lots of scenarios that can lead you to either way though...

It's all evolution really...

Kwahu Jakquai's picture
I like your reply.

I like your reply.

Kwahu Jakquai's picture
Responsibility to basic human

Responsibility to basic human need could be more ambiguous.

LogicFTW's picture
I feel true altruism does not

I feel true altruism does not exist.

You cannot do a truly "selfless" act and still be "self."

If you make a decision, or act on instinct it is not true altruism at least in the strictest definition of the word.

Of course people do selfless like acts all the time, and many times they should be considered heroes.

Randomhero1982's picture
Yeah, that's why I added the

Yeah, that's why I added the caveat of bees/wasps displaying 'extreme alturism'...

I know many books will regard there selflessness as true alurism but I'm not 100% convinced it's completely altruistic and perhaps more just an extreme version.

chimp3's picture
It depends on why one is

It depends on why one is being "selfless". Let's say a woman who is on track to become a doctor. She has the ways and means to make it through medical school. She ends up marrying a jealous oaf who is too insecure to marry a woman who is more successful than him. In order to save his ego she elects to be a stay at home Mom instead. Deep down she harbors resentment for her choice. The world has one less MD.

Pitar's picture
Altruism is a follow-on of

Altruism is a follow-on of morality (and ethics) and all of them are subjective constructs, certainly culturally relative and our own history clearly shows varying iterations of them existed to either exploit or champion humanity.

The question, therefore, cannot be universally approached. It can only be approached relative to who we are in the here and now. In that very small focus, we have to consider the context of humanity. One culture considers it immoral to sexually exploit young boys, another does not consider such a behavior immoral at all and, in fact, to be a normal way of life.

This nullifies all discussion of altruism and its basis in morality and ethics as a topic for isolating and defining. It's goal posts change with each culture.

MCDennis's picture
I don not think that altruism

I don not think that altruism is immoral

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