April 15, 2015
Altruism and Why We do What We do
There are two types of people in the world, those who play and those who watch. Players find themselves getting involved in whatever they are passionate about. Those who watch find themselves warming the bench, not contributing, and missing out. One important game we play in life is connected to altruism. Someone who plays in the game of altruism participates in service and doing things outside themself. Why do they act so selflessly? If someone is self-interested, shouldn’t they be playing in something that does more to benefit them? In an effort to argue that people are truly altruistic and simultaneously self-interested, I will use three articles to compare and contrast with Aristotle’s idea of altruism by showing how and why people play in the game of altruism. Clavian and Chapuisat say that altruism is one word with multiple meanings. As a general term, it means an individual will dispose or sacrifice personal interest in favor of others or it is a gift given without expectation of future personal reward (Clavian and Chapuisat, 2011). Further, four definitions of altruism are needed to avoid misunderstandings across the various disciplines. These disciplines are psychological altruism, behavioral altruism, reproductive altruism, and preference altruism. Altruism has been researched in many fields and that it can be represented differently. For example, the different types of altruism challenge the “homo economicus” model, or more commonly known as game theory (Clavian and Chapuisat, 2011). Acts of altruism cannot be explained because the idea of economical self-interest goes against this theory. In these said disciplines however, Clavian and Chapuisat argue that people can be self-interested in different ways if they feel it is in their best interest that that their own actions are motivated towards helping others even if it sets them back. As earlier stated, these are the people that play...
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