Altruism is great goal and achievement for human behavior. When one thinks of altruistic behavior one visions war heroes, religious leaders, and philanthropists. The question is why do these people sacrifice, teach, and give with no benefit to self. The argument for the existence of altruistic behavior is very strong. One reason for this is the definition of an altruistic behavior does not depend on the motivation behind the behavior but the goal of the behavior. Even the desire to benefit one’s self can be altruistic if that goal involves helping another person. This description of altruistic makes it possible for one to be selfish in desire but altruistic in purpose. This is the strength of the argument for the existence of altruistic behavior.
The argument against the existence of altruistic behavior is not a solid argument. The argument against altruistic behavior focuses on the desire of the person when behaving in a manner that benefits another person. The reasoning behind this argument is that people desires to lower the amount of their own distress in situations in which others are facing or dealing with distress. This argument is weak because the argument does not focus on the help that occurs, which is the altruistic behavior. For a behavior to be altruistic someone must be aided, which does not focus on personal desire but simply the behavior of helping another person.
The concept I agree with is that altruistic behavior does exist. This is because altruistic behavior does not depend on personal desire but the behavior itself. This means that no matter what a person’s goal is as long as part of reaching their goal involves the aid of another person then their goal to help another is altruistic. This description of altruistic behavior makes the most sense to me because anytime another person is helped then that person’s situation is benefited regardless of the underlying motivation for the help.
Fiske, S. T. (2010). Social beings: Core Motives in Social Psychology (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.