What was your dangerous act of kindness

Is Altruism a Contradiction?

Rather than defining a kind or altruistic act in such a way that it cannot be accompanied by a feeling of goodness in the person performing the act, it could be better defined as an act, theirs Motivation or common sense Didn't even feel good Feeling good could be a random side effect, however, and even if the person knew that doing the action would make them feel good. It wasn't the "why", it wasn't the reason they did it.

You said in your first paragraph that your CEO states that feeling good is actually always a motivation for an altruistic act, but to support his point he seems to be arguing that feeling good is always accompanied by a good feeling. As mentioned in my first paragraph, being motivated to feel good about doing something is different than feeling good about doing something.

If I give $ 500 to charity, I might feel good. If I spent that $ 500 on an activity I enjoy, I could better feel , as if I had spent the money on charity. Obviously, it wasn't the reason I gave the money to charity (because if it had been my motivational reason I would have spent it on the other activity) although it was a consequence of the kind act. It couldn't one be the reasons I gave the money to charity. For example, I could and do have some ethical beliefs that, taken together, mean that I should give the $ 500 to charity, and nowhere among those beliefs is my good feeling mentioned.

I think the definition of kind or altruistic act as one whose motivation is not selfish is closer to what people actually mean when they use the term than an act that is not accompanied by a feeling of good (among other things) becomes. Even if all altruistic acts were accompanied by good feelings in the person performing the acts, it would not contradict this definition.


Well, heroine addict isn't looking for pleasure either. It does not make an act of consuming heroine altruistic.


You're right. My suggested "definition" is unclear (and not even really a definition). What I meant by that is: Perhaps a necessary condition for an altruistic act is that it is not due to comfort or pleasure is motivated . This is in contrast to the OP CEO, who seems to be saying that a necessary condition for an altruistic act is that it is not accompanied by good feeling or pleasure. As you point out, there must be more to an altruistic act than just not being motivated by pleasure, otherwise any act that is not motivated by pleasure would be altruistic.


Exactly. Perhaps "reward system" should be renamed "motivation system". The infallibly correct position, however, is that everyone is self-motivated by their own neural activity (of course, this can be a reaction to some external events). And then it all boils down to the definition of pain and pleasure. Are they the only motivators? Modern literature defines it in such a way that even psychological egoism according to this position is infallibly correct. And remember, whoever wants to eat delicious food doesn't really think, "I do it to make me feel better". He only wants and eats when possible.