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Concept of True Altruism


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Concept of True Altruism

The question of whether true altruism exists or not has been raging over the decades with opinions divided based on people’s perspectives and experiences. Altruism is generally defined as the practice or belief of someone being selfless and disinterested with self for the others’ interests and well-being (Feigin et al, 2014). It is a principle that seeks to uphold and promote the welfare of someone else even when own life and interests are at risk or will be costly to self. It is considered as an ego defense and a form of sublimation in which an individual copes with own anxiety by helping others. Vocations such as teaching or medicine are considered altruistic because it makes those in them to address the needs of others (Batson, 1998). However, it is argued that altruism is distinguished from true altruism; altruism basically means a cover up to feelings that are uncomfortable while true altruism is mainly a means to certain external end like alleviating poverty or hunger. This paper will assess the concept of true altruism by providing examples of altruistic behaviors and analyze them with the aim of establishing whether true altruism exists.Concept of True Altruism

The stories of greed and malice are becoming increasingly many but at the same time there are evidences of human beings making sacrifices in order to do good for others. The motivation of self-sacrifice is what determines whether a certain act is truly altruistic or not (Nagel, 1997). For example in 2007, Wesley Autrey tried to save a man who was suffering a seizure from an approaching train in New York City subway platform. He jumped down onto the tracks and managed to save the man who had already fallen due to seizure. In this scenario, Autrey is the giver while and the man saved is the receiver of an act of altruism. This act can be explained using the theory of empathy-altruism. According to Paul et al (2003), this theory holds that emphatic concerns results to altruistic motivation where someone feels empathetic towards the other individual and helps them without any consideration of gaining from the act. In this scenario, Autrey is seen to act out of empathy and with little consideration of self; he did not take time to plan about it but rather acted as soon as he realized it is necessary. His ultimate intention was to help that person and there were no foreseeable benefits to him at that moment…..

Concept of True Altruism