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Altruism: The Illusion Of Self Interest Essay

1156 words - 5 pages

The behavior of altruism in an individual is when it brings more costs than benefits for the benefit of another individual. Altruism comes from the Latin word "Alter" which means "the others." This translation of alturism describes it relatively well. Another great definition of altruism can be found in a statement of Edward Osborne Wilson, an American biologist. According to Wilson, "Altruism is defined in biology, as in everyday life, as a self-destructive
behavior for the benefit of other." (Recent Work on Human Altruism and Evolution) Another popularized theory by Richard Dawkins states that an individual who behaves more altruistic towards others who share its genes will tend to reproduce those genes. But since we always want something in exchange for something we did, can this truly exist, or is it just an illusion? On Jan.
2, 2007, Wesley Autrey jumped on the subway tracks of a New York City subway platform, as a train was approaching to save a man who fell due to a seizure. Since most people would tend to argue that he did it influenced by pure altruism, because he did not gain anything in this moment, he got the satisfaction of having helped somebody, and the respect of that and other humans after that accident, which proves that there was no pure altruism. Altruism, an illusionary behavior, lets us gain from charity, but always requires something in return, influenced by reciprocal altruism and empathy, universal egoism and moral, leading to an overvaluing of the action.
Altruism can be found in various places like Primates, Humans, and even Bacteria. Reciprocal altruism is often mixed up with altruism, a good difference of them can be found in the common expression, “I scratch your back, and you scratch my back.” Everybody wants to be rewarded in a way for his good action, even though Altruism states that it shouldn’t be expected. Social benefits may have to be compensated by material gifts, or by provision of an equivalent social benefit with respect to the recipient. It is led by our personal beliefs and many also state that altruism is set by our genes. Reciprocal altruism is a theory which explains the evolution of altruistic behavior between unrelated individuals by natural selection. It was published in 1971 by Robert Trivers. But as more is given by the altruists more is expected to be given back. Since
many would state that pure altruism exists, reciprocal altruism is the form of altruism which is being mixed up. Even if an altruist might not want to receive anything for it, he will still get a consideration for it, whether social or objective or any other kind. So even if an altruistic action looks like a pure action after it is over, it will always turn into a reciprocal altruism action. Many would argue that moral would influence in it as well as the opposite of altruism, ethics.
Another two different main points which have to respect this altruism theory is the universal egoism and the moral. Although altruism...

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