When altruism fails

The game is simple — rock beats scissors blunts itscissors beats paper cuts itand paper beats rock wraps it up.

When altruism fails

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When altruism fails

Well, I'm sure there is some of that in every blog, or for that matter in any editorial-style writing. However, for me writing is actually a major way of thinking. I literally think while I write, in the sense that writing helps me clarify to myself first what I think about a certain topic and why.

This isn't surprising, given good evidence from the literature on pedagogy that the best way to learn something is to either do it or to explain it to someone else. That said, let me get to the topic of this entry, altruism.

Altruism has bugged a lot of people, from theologians to philosophers, to scientists.

Altruism —Ayn Rand Lexicon

And it has bugged me for a long time. Although I am an atheist, I grew up with a Catholic education, and I certainly consider myself a moral person who tries to do the right thing within the limits of human nature. Readers are also referred to a previous entry on the multiple philosophical threads that make up my view of ethics.

Kin altruism is the helping behavior we display toward our close relatives, especially but not exclusively our offspring. It is explained in terms of actually increasing our genetic fitness because it helps passing some copies of our genes to the next generation.

When altruism fails

As the famous British geneticist J. I'll be nice to you as long as you are nice to me; if you start being nasty, I'll retaliate.

Biologists have shown the existence and workings of kin and reciprocal altruism both theoretically with elegant mathematical models based on game or optimization theory and empirically e.

Highlights of the research history of altruism in sociobiology, psychological social-psychology, and sociology are reviewed. Examples from the author's work on kidney and bone-marrow donation are. I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York's skyline. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky . “True altruism does not exist”. Discuss with reference to psychological theory and research. Many have defined altruism in a similar context, a special form of helping behaviour that is “an act that is motivated by the desire to benefit another individual rather than oneself” (Hogg &Vaughan, ).

But what about humans? Nonetheless, it seems to me that if we are claiming that there are additional forms of altruism that are typically human, then the burden of proof is on those making the claim divine revelation, as usual, is barred from the arena, since it isn't an argument at all.

The best attempt I've seen to reconcile what is known as biological altruism i. Of course, there are exceptions of people who engage in apparently truly selfless behavior, just as there are cases not just among humans of naturally homosexual individuals obviously a biological disadvantage.

But remember that biological, and a fortiori social scientific, theories never aspire to explain more than the general trend, certainly not the behavior of every single individual. Of course, philosophers from Aristotle to Kant and beyond have given all of this quite a bit of thought, and it would require a book to get into the details.

The bottom line for me, however, is that the more I think about it, the more it seems to me that kin and reciprocal altruism are not just the only two types that apply to the biological world, they are also the only two flavors that are rationally defensible.

I'm perfectly aware that this begins to sound like Ayn Rand, and if that's the case, so be it. Anyway, to avoid the naturalistic fallacy one has to come up with a rational defense of the position that kin and reciprocal altruism are all that one needs to live a moral life.

And, frankly, it seems to me that this isn't difficult. Few people would argue against taking care of one's offspring or close relatives, but not many of us are prepared to sacrifice everything for them either — a balance typical of kin altruism.

Yes, there are rare cases of mothers sacrificing their lives for their children and if the children are sufficiently numerous, this makes straight biological sense, see the quote above from Haldanebut the much more common dynamic is one of parent-offspring conflict, in which the older the children become the less the parents are willing to invest resources in them.

And why should they? Nobody has ever come up with a good argument for why a complete negation of one's own interests is, in fact, somehow the moral thing to do.

Analogously, diffuse reciprocal altruism is what makes the world go round.THE FALSE ALLURE OF GROUP SELECTION. Human beings live in groups, are affected by the fortunes of their groups, and sometimes . The word "altruism" (French, altruisme, from autrui: "other people", derived from Latin alter: "other") was coined by Auguste Comte, the French founder of positivism, in .

When altruism fails People are capable of a high degree of self- sacrifice altruism on behalf of family members, friends, colleges and complete strangers. Yet, we can all point to situations in which altruism was expected but did not materialize. For example child abuse, absent fathers, pedophile priests, false doctors, and the bad Samaritan.

Jan 17,  · How Measurement Fails Doctors and Teachers. By Robert M. Wachter. Jan. 16, ; Image. Our businesslike efforts to measure and improve quality are now blocking the altruism. Altruism declares that any action taken for the benefit of others is good, and any action taken for one’s own benefit is evil.

since the system fails to have any true explanatory value, it’s difficult to find any reason to adopt Objectivism at all. Fortunately, we don’t have to . [Content warning: Discussion of social justice, discussion of violence, spoilers for Jacqueline Carey books.] [Edit 10/ This post was inspired by a debate with a friend of a friend on Facebook who has since become somewhat famous.

Neoteny | Zoology and Entomology articles. IAS Zoology.