ΑΛΤΡΟΥΙΣΜΟΣ ΣΤΟ ΣΗΜΕΡΑ – ΜΙΑ ΜΕΛΕΤΗ

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Στη σημερινή εποχή πολλά λέγονται περί  ύπαρξης ή μη του αλτρουισμού. Σε αυτό το post περιγράφονται οι πιο σύγχρονες θεωρίες με επιστημονική βάση. Πρόκειται για μια μελέτη, που αναλύει σύντομα από ψυχολογική πλευρά αντιθετικές έννοιες για την ύπαρξη του αλτρουισμού.  Φυσικά, δεν μπορούσα να παραθέσω ολόκληρη την έρευνα που έκανα γιατί και κουραστικό θα ήταν να αναγνωστούν αρκετές χιλιάδες λέξεις, αλλά και δεν υπάρχει νόημα να μπερδευτείτε με πολλές έννοιες. Η έρευνα είναι στην αγγλική γλώσσα, αλλά κάποια στιγμή θα αναφερθώ σε αυτό το θέμα με μεγαλύτερη ένταση και στην ελληνική.

Topic: »True altruism does not exist. Discuss with reference to psychological theory and research»

«In general terms, altruism is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others. There is much debate whether “true “altruism can exist in human psychology. The opposite of altruism is egoism and the theory of psychological egoism suggests that no act of sharing, helping or sacrificing can be described as truly altruistic, as the person may receive an intrinsic reward in the form of personal indulgence. The perspective of this argument is based on the “benefits” related to intrinsic rewards. Altruism, on the other hand, is the performance of an action which has a cost for an individual, but it benefits another individual at the same time, without expecting any kind of compensation for that action. Psychological research on altruism studies often observe altruism as demonstrated through prosocial behaviors such as helping, comforting, sharing, cooperation, philanthropy, and community service.

Based on the social exchange theory that suggests that altruism exists primarily when benefits outweigh costs. Mr. Daniel Batson, a well-known psychologist, examined this theory and concluded four major motives for altruism: altruism to ultimately benefit the self (egoism), to ultimately benefit the other person (altruism), to benefit a group (collectivism), or to uphold a moral principle (principlism). According to Batson, only empathy-induced altruism could be originally selfless, whilst empathy-altruism hypothesis mainly states that psychological altruism does exist and is evoked by the empathic desire to help someone who is in need. Thus, he asserts that psychological egoism is false: «Contrary to the beliefs of Hobbes, La Rochefoucauld, Mandeville, and virtually all psychologists, altruistic concern for the welfare of others is within the human repertoire”. Another, significant point is that altruistic acts provoke happiness, but also support that happier people are kinder.

However, there is an opposite view that supports altruism does not exist. The key – word is “psychological egoism” that suggests all of our intentional actions are ultimately motivated by what we take to be in our own self-interest. Psychological egoists admit that we can desire to help another, but they will maintain that this is merely instrumental to an ultimate desire that is self-interested. Such a theory is important to ethics to a certain extent, because it can likely drive to challenging morality: If altruism is psychologically impossible, then it can’t be our duty to be altruistic. The psychology professor, Mr. Robert Cialdini, admits that while empathy does lead to increased helping, it does so not because of pure altruism, but because thinking of another person’s pain makes us sad, and one way to make ourselves feel better is to be helpful. Cialdini complements that taking another person’s perspective actually causes us to feel some overlap between ourselves and that other person and so we help them the way we would help ourselves.

To conclude, one could suggest that true altruism towards a wider group does not exist because individuals’ instance of altruism has selfish intentions. As Dawkins suggests that acts of altruism are “selfishness in disguise”. Contrariwise, Mrs. Debbie Haski, did a research that confirms that altruism in form of volunteerism exists, beyond personal profits. Only by adhering to the notions of altruism and egoism that lie at the heart of that debate do we face head on the fundamental issues it raises about human potential and human nature. To answer the question about the existence of altruism, all it needs is to value another’s welfare. «

Όπως προανέφερα, αυτές είναι μερικές από τις πιο εμπεριστατωμένες απόψεις που υφίστανται μέχρι στιγμής. Βέβαια, αυτό δεν προδικάζει την απόψη που έχει ο καθένας, αλλά καλό είναι να γνωρίζουμε σε γενικές γραμμές πως σκέφτεται οι πλειοψηφία των ανθρώπων. Ελπίζω να έδωσα τροφή για σκέψη!

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