What is altruism?

  • (noun): The quality of unselfish concern for the welfare of others.
    Synonyms: selflessness


Altruism ( /ˈæltruːɪzəm/) is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures, and a core aspect of various religious traditions, though the concept of "others" toward whom concern should be directed can vary among cultures and religions. Altruism is the opposite of selfishness.

Read more about Altruism.

Some articles on altruism:

An Enquiry Concerning The Principles Of Morals - Summary - Sympathy, Altruism, and Egoism
... After providing various examples, Hume comes to the conclusion that most, though not all, of the behaviors we approve of increase public utility ... Does this then mean that we make moral judgments on self-interest alone? Unlike his fellow empiricist Thomas Hobbes, Hume argues that this is not in fact the case, rejecting psychological egoism--the view that all intentional actions are ultimately self-interested ...
Perspectives On Helping Behavior - Reciprocal Altruism
... Reciprocal altruism is the idea that the incentive for an individual to help in the present is based on the expectation of the potential receipt in the future ... and business may underlie reciprocal altruism in which products given and received involve different exchanges ...
Altruism - Philosophy
... Proponents of ethical altruism maintain that individuals are morally obligated to act altruistically ... Both ethical altruism and ethical egoism contrast with utilitarianism, which is the view that every individual's well-being (including one's own) is ... egoism, the thesis that humans always act in their own self-interest and that true altruism is impossible ...
Competitive Altruism
... Competitive altruism is a possible mechanism for the persistence of cooperative behaviors, specifically those that are performed unconditionally ... The theory of reciprocal altruism can be used to explain behaviors that are performed by a donor who receives some sort of benefit in the future ... To explain competitive altruism, Roberts uses the example of preening among birds ...
Reciprocity Vs. Altruism in Prosocial Behavior Motivation
... The purest forms of prosocial behavior are motivated by altruism, an unselfish interest in helping another person ... According to Sanstock, the circumstances most likely to evoke altruism are empathy for an individual in need, or a close relationship between the benefactor ... Thus some professionals argue that altruism may not exist, and is completely motivated by reciprocity ...