What Is the Definition of Altruism. Essay Sample.

Published: 2018-03-12 23:37:57
What Is the Definition of Altruism. Essay Sample.
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories: Culture Psychology Personality Society
Pages: 2
Wordcount: 445 words
4 min read
143 views

Essay Sample #1 - Altruism Definition

Egoism refers to the act of satisfying personal instinctual needs towards achieving personal righteousness. In other words it is the care of oneself. Whilst this applies to egoistic behaviors, some individuals may perform certain acts to satisfy instinctual behaviors that fuel the caring of other individuals' needs. Such acts may be directed to one's own group or certain individuals. Arguably, the concepts of morality are grounded on self interests. Therefore, even though egoistic and altruistic behaviors tend to be different, I firmly believe that altruism manifested itself in egoistic characters. For instance, egoistic behaviors makes a person to show more pride while doing certain tasks. Such actions as performed by the individual may be interpreted as egoistic behaviors by others. Further, if the individual performing the acts desperately wants to achieve his or her righteousness, then he or she possesses egoistic characters. Furthermore, in the case such an individual directs his or her assistance towards other people who might have not requested the assistance, or the individual performing the actions was not requested to do so, then such a person is said to possess altruistic behaviors. In essence, a altruistic behaviors are performed to realize self actualization and the desire to show ego rather than benefiting the intended audience. In a nutshell, the manifestation of altruistic behaviors is egoism.

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Additionally, when people are self centered, they do not rightly intend to provide services that are aimed at benefiting others, but rather self gain. Therefore, such actions may not be regarded an helpful but perceived satisfying ones needs. Also, individuals may want to associate with other to show of their egoism. This means that such people do not intend to provide services that necessarily benefit group members but as a purpose of self gain. For example, when a person performs services that tends to increase his utility and associated with personal privileges ,he or she is termed as egoistic rather than altruistic. Such services include giving of financial support to the poor with aim of serving the interest of the giver. This can be illustrated by a developed nation donating funds to the less fortunate in the underdeveloped countries and at the end exploit their natural resources. In other words, the nation with financial muscle gains more than the less fortunate one because its sole aim was to exploit the available resources in the poorly developed one.

In most cases, people demand morality rather than ego. However, morality itself is grounded in individuals' self-interest. Therefore, it is difficult to differentiate between altruistic actions from egoistic ones. Often, people desire to help others when they do not need them and therefore end up benefiting as individuals.

Essay Sample #2 - Altruism Versus Egoism

Altruism and egoism are two terms that people often confuse. From the onset, it is worth noting that the two terms have diverse meanings or applications both in the technical and moral contexts. In the moral aspect, someone is an egoist when they are selfish and only think of their interest or well-being at the expense of others. In contrast, altruism is mainly used in a situation when a person puts the interest of others or the common good before their own.

In the technical perspective, egoistical person thinks of themselves ahead of everyone or mainly cares for their needs and disregards the feelings or the well-being of the rest. On the other hand, altruism refers to caring for the fitness of others. The altruist pays the cost or goes at a loss to ensure that comfort of the rest, meaning that they are willing to sacrifice for the common good without expecting rewards or favors for their acts of courage or kindness. The standard measure of altruism is the manner in which the parents care for their children from the point of birth or the care for kin in general.

The application or the use of the terms, altruism or egoism, depends on the temporal or the long-term perspective. in the long-term, a question arises as to why someone sacrifice to meet the needs or the demands of other people unconditionally. Survival is the motivation behind egoism, meaning that people tend to be selfish in order to navigate the seemingly murky waters of life. The above assertion is mainly relevant in the short-term, where faced with any danger humanity will mainly choose self as a means of survival. However, in the end the aim is for the organism to reproduce. Nevertheless, in the long-term, both altruism and egoism have a common goal, which is reproduction. The main objective of ego is to bring forth an alter, which therefore means that every living thing is altruistic in the end.

The confusion in he application of the two terms often arises because many people tend to use the term cooperation as a substitute for altruism. For example, in a case when a singer performs for the audience people may mistake that particular person intending to meet the audience's needs. In truth, the main aim could be to collect money. The above example means that survival or ego is a basic instinct while altruism is secondary. The singer's main intent is to earn the money while satisfying the audience is essentially secondary. If the terms ego and altruism had the same meaning or even purpose then the singer would perform and leave without collecting money as a reward for the services. Superficially, the primitive forms of cooperation could easily pass for ego. However, a critical look at the motivation or force behind certain actions, like the performing singer, reveals that altruistic or egoistical actions have profoundly distinct features.

Egoism is the means to an end. Ego's main concern is the end product, which is the exact opposite of altruism. While egoism advocates for altruistic acts such as the division of labor the objective is always different. For example, during sexual intercourse, individuals will divide duties. Seemingly, in such a situation the two individuals are helping each other, which is not the case. The real force behind the altruistic actions of the lovers caught up in the heat of the moment is the fact that they both want to satisfy their basic instincts. Notably, in the mentioned case, there is an impressive degree of cooperation, but the motivating factor is eerily selfish. In a sense, ego may at times have characteristics consistent with altruism, but the motivation is often different. As demonstrated, egoism and altruism are different.

Essay Sample #3 - What Is Altruism?

Altruism and egoism are arguably two of the most debated concepts in philosophy. For some, altruism and egoism are two opposite sides of the same coin while to others; altruism is a manifestation of egoism. More extremist views suggest that altruism and egoism are in fact not mutually exclusive concepts but rather are concordant concepts. Nevertheless, philosophical research indicates that any of these scenarios can be proven to be true depending on the circumstances and supporting evidence. However, my personal inclination is that altruism is not a form of egoism but rather a concept based on egoism. Consequently, this paper, drawing from critical thinking, argues that altruism and egoism exists on a linear scale whereby egoism lays the foundation for altruism. As such, altruism cannot take place before egoism and although this might suggest that altruism is indeed a form of egoism, this research argues otherwise.

Egoism is an ethical school of thought that treats self-interest as the underpinning factor behind morality. As such, the theory of egoism argues that everybody’s ethical and moral compass is dictated by their own interest. Bases on this premise, people’s actions and moral behavior are dictated by the extent to which their ego is dominant. That is, people who live to serve their own primal needs of hunger, aggression, and sex regardless of the outcome or consequences are immoral while those who consider their actions, environment, and societal expectations before fulfilling these needs are moral. On the other hand altruism is defined as the “unselfish concern for the welfare of others”. In this school of thought, people’s actions and moral compass is dictated by their unwavering concern for others and their well being.

Based on these definitions it becomes clear that altruistic behavior is not in any way a manifestation of egoism. Unlike egotistic behavior which is driven by self-interest, altruism has nothing to do with the self-preservation of the person offering selfless services to others. Although it might be argued that the persons self-perceived moral righteousness which drive their altruistic behavior is in fact satisfying their self-interest to be morally correct, no person is born with the self-interest to be moral. In the contrary, research has shown that concepts of morality and ethics are influenced by environment and learnt progressively from childhood to adulthood. As such, egoistic actions are predominantly for survival purposes as opposed to altruistic actions which are predominantly to satisfy artificial concepts, psychological or otherwise.

Finally, egotism comes before altruism. Philosopher Spencer (1879) argues that both concepts exist simultaneously in a linear relationship. According to him, an individual’s self-interests of survival must always come first lest they die. For instance, if a person puts their need to eat, be happy, or procreate behind others’ needs to do so, it would mean that the individual would eventually die. As such, even when being selfless and taking care of others’ needs, ones egotistic needs must first be met. For example, consider a caretaker in a nursing home who in the traditional sense is altruistic. Rarely do they themselves become miserable because when all things are considered, they first fulfill their needs to be happy (choosing that career path) before they offer their services. As such, Altruism is not a form of egoism.

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