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Information and definition:
"Only act on the maxim that you want at the same time to become a universal law." - Immanuel Kant
altruism (from the Latin age = the other) refers to selfless behavior in which a performance is performed by using personal resources, without requiring or to expect a return in return.
The personal resources may, in principle, be goods of any kind: time, money, effort, objects, favors or general help.
When does someone act altruistically? Conditions for Altruism:
no intention one advantage To provide
no expectationon a later compensation
recognizable Use for the other
Expenditure of Mьhe
Altruism or cooperation?
Although the conditions for altruism are relatively easy to outline, the clear distinction between cooperation and altruism is very difficult. The whole can be explained by the following examples:
1.) It's Christmas Eve. Peter goes through the city and sees a homeless person. At first he goes on apathetic, but he is troubled by remorse. He has no sympathy, but a guilty conscience. At Christmas 'you have to do something good'. Peter goes to the homeless again after shopping and gives him a euro.
2.) Peter is in school and has an apple like every day. When he sees that Marianne has forgotten her sandwich today, he offers her a piece of his apple. Although Peter is not aware of this, but secretly he hopes to get some of Marianne's snack bread sooner or later.
In Example 1, Peter is good-natured, but whether the 'reassurance of one's own conscience' is still altruistic, or rather arises from a selfish reason that somehow rescinds the altruistic act, is the central question. Seen objectively (and without knowing his thoughts) Peter acts altruistically, because he gives the homeless person something of value in general. From a subjective level, however, he acts only to calm his conscience. The thing itself, to do something good, backs into the background. Whether only the objective act is sufficient for altruistic behavior, or whether the subjective component is a compelling condition, is entirely dependent on the definition chosen for altruism.
The second example is an example for reciprocal altruism, Peter shares with Marianne because he secretly hopes to get something from her the next time. In contrast to example 1, it can be stated more clearly that this is not altruism but a form of cooperation.
As you can see when answering the question of whether someone is altruistic or not, you get into the very fast philosophy, Someone can act altruistically, but basically his own purposes. A clear demarcation is usually difficult, partly because there are different definitions of altruism.
Possible reasons for altruism
Morality and ethics
Religion and values
Altruism from the perspective of evolution
From the perspective of evolutionary theory, altruism does not seem particularly plausible. With altruistic behavior, one individual strengthens another's fitness while weakening one's own. In the long term, the gene combinations for altruistic behavior of these animals would have to be selected out of the gene pool, as they are less adapted to their social behavior.
A special example to understand the meaning behind altruism, are state-forming insects. Bees, ants and termites have one thing in common: Only the Queen passes her genes to the next generation. All other females are responsible only for the care and the flow in the bee / ant or termite state. Reproduction of female workers is no longer possible for physiological reasons. The genitals have regressed in the course of evolution because there was no need for it. Although the workers themselves do not pass on their genes, they donate the queen, who is related to them. And Queen's genes, of course, are very similar to those of her daughters. In this context, biologists speak of the so-called kin selection.