Altruism



the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others (opposed to ).
Animal Behavior. behavior by an animal that may be to its disadvantage but that benefits others of its kind, as a warning cry that reveals the location of the caller to a predator.
Contemporary Examples

There are lots of studies that show how the kind of optimism and altruism we get in games spills over into real life.
Jane McGonigal’s Reality Is Broken and How Videogames Are Changing the World Josh Dzieza January 24, 2011

The Ant and the Peacock is about two disagreements between Darwin and Wallace: altruism and sexual selection.
What Richard Dawkins Reads: Jerry Coyne, Helena Cronin and More Josh Dzieza September 26, 2012

Policy makers must face the fact that altruism alone isn’t enough.
Take My Kidney, Please Sally Satel January 7, 2009

Of course, Ford was motivated more by self-interest than by altruism.
Henry Ford Understood That Raising Wages Would Bring Him More Profit Daniel Gross January 5, 2014

It represents the dark side of altruism; the sense of entitled reciprocity that can be a burden to both donor and recipient.
Take My Kidney, Please Sally Satel January 7, 2009

Historical Examples

altruism is an essential ingredient of a religion that is worth while.
The Vitality of Mormonism–Brief Essays James E. Talmage

What are the instruments for securing the preponderance of altruism?
Critical Miscellanies (Vol. 3 of 3) John Morley

What spheres, then, will eventually remain for altruism as it is commonly conceived?
The Data of Ethics Herbert Spencer

I must get that part of me off in my journal, but a book about—altruism?
Man and Maid Elinor Glyn

You may bring all your gods with you—gods of love, mercy, gentleness, altruism; but I know them not.
The Breath of Life John Burroughs

noun
the principle or practice of unselfish concern for the welfare of others
the philosophical doctrine that right action is that which produces the greatest benefit to others
n .

1853, “unselfishness, opposite of egoism,” from French altruisme, coined or popularized 1830 by French philosopher Auguste Comte (1798-1857), from autrui, from Old French altrui, “of or to others,” from Latin alteri, dative of alter “other” (see alter). Apparently suggested to Comte by French legal phrase l’autrui, or in full, le bien, le droit d’autrui. The -l- is perhaps a reinsertion from the Latin word.

There is a fable that when the badger had been stung all over by bees, a bear consoled him by a rhapsodic account of how he himself had just breakfasted on their honey. The badger replied peevishly, “The stings are in my flesh, and the sweetness is on your muzzle.” The bear, it is said, was surprised at the badger’s want of altruism. [“George Eliot,” “Theophrastus Such,” 1879]

altruism
(āl’tr-ĭz’əm)
Instinctive cooperative behavior that is detrimental or without reproductive benefit to the individual but that contributes to the survival of the group to which the individual belongs. The willingness of a subordinate member of a wolf pack to forgo mating and help care for the dominant pair’s pups is an example of altruistic behavior. While the individual may not reproduce, or may reproduce less often, its behavior helps ensure that a close relative does successfully reproduce, thus passing on a large share of the altruistic individual’s genetic material.
altruism [(al-trooh-iz-uhm)]

A selfless concern for others.

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    a person unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others (opposed to ). Historical Examples Jerris the First was neither a power-mad dictator nor an altruist, although he had been called both. The Unnecessary Man Gordon Randall Garrett To be the altruist, one must first be the egoist (say the philosophers), to give, […]

  • Altruistically

    unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others (opposed to ). Animal Behavior. of or relating to behavior by an animal that may be to its disadvantage but that benefits others of its kind, often its close relatives. Historical Examples Selfishly, altruistically, the story was the thing for him to do. To Him […]



  • Altruistic

    unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others (opposed to ). Animal Behavior. of or relating to behavior by an animal that may be to its disadvantage but that benefits others of its kind, often its close relatives. Contemporary Examples The next most popular idea was to give old fur coats to the […]

  • Altus

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