Essay On Altruism

analytical Essay
836 words
836 words

The concept of altruism dates back to the time of the French sociologists and philosopher, Auguste Comte. The word altruism comes from the Italian language and means serving others. Roughly, altruism appears as the opposite of the then reigning ideology of egoism. On the other hand, mutual aid dates back to the time of Peter Kropotkin. The Russian geographer and self-proclaimed anarchist gave up all his wealth and better lifestyle in order to advance his theory of mutual aid. The major concern was the liberation of the fellow Russians who languished in poverty.
This paper will examine the origin of the concepts of altruism and mutual aid. It will also examine the controversies or conflicting perspectives that surround the two concepts such as the power of self-interest in the life of a human being. Furthermore, it will highlight on the history of the poor people in the middle ages, the forms of aid that was available then, and the similar endeavors in the present day.
According to Altruists International (2014), the idea of altruism came from Auguste Comte. This new concept sent the scholars and great thinkers of the time back to the proper examination of major moral and religious ideologies. At this stage, the two major ideologies that were reigning were that of benevolence and self-interest. The concept of altruism gained ground in the 1850s, raising many philosophical and scientific questions. Altruism contains three major ideas. These are the intentions, actions, and the ideology itself. In this regard, altruism takes forms like psychological, behavioral, and ethical. Behavioral altruism refers to consequences that result from actions. These consequences are essentially, the benefits that others derive from the agent acting (A...

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...y altruistic-concerned with the welfare of others and not theirs-then any altruistic action would not begin in the first place (Oren, 2010). This is because none of the agents in the altruistic world would need any help from other altruistic agents. This argument is purely philosophical and has the necessary mathematical rigor required. However, the major argument that chief opponents of altruism put forward is the idea of self-responsibility. Under ordinary conditions, an individual has no obligation to help others. In this regard, people should only engage in actions that are personally rewarding. Moreover, being concerned with the welfare of others at the expense of one’s own amounts to self-neglect; this is true since true altruism dictates that agents have no personal interests. This implies that agents in altruistic world take no responsibility for themselves.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that altruism dates back to the time of the french sociologists and philosopher, auguste comte.
  • Explains that the paper will examine the origin of altruism and mutual aid, and the controversies or conflicting perspectives that surround them. it will highlight the history of the poor in the middle ages.
  • Explains that the idea of altruism came from auguste comte, which led to the examination of moral and religious ideologies in the 1850s.
  • Explains that the idea of altruism has evolved since its inception with many scholars giving varied or equivalent versions of the ideology.
  • Explains that peter kropotkin gave up his wealth and class of life in an attempt to spread the ideology of mutual aid. he maintains that cooperation between species is a key factor in the development of species.
  • Argues that comte's view of absolute altruism has some inherent weaknesses, such as the idea of self-responsibility.
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