Showing posts from April, 2015

Altruism and Selfishness

This is how I define “altruism” and “selfishness”: Altruism: Acting for the benefit of others. Selfishness: Acting for your own benefit. These definitions match the common usage of the words. They are as simple and clear as possible. Of course, like all definitions, they depend on the meanings of other words. So, now we have to dig a bit deeper. They both depend on the definition of “benefit”. Selfishness and altruism are relative to a definition of value: what is good or bad for an individual. There are different types of altruism and selfishness, depending on how we define “benefit”. Here are some ways that “benefit” could be defined: Biological: Reproduction is the measure of value. Psychological: Desire is the measure of value. Energetic: Energy is the measure of value. Whether an action is altruistic or selfish depends on which definition is used. An action that is altruistic when viewed energetically could be selfish when viewed biologica