Sunday, July 19, 2009


Altruism is something that some people don't think exists.  Some people think that everything we do is out of self interest.  Everything we do is because the benefits outweigh the costs.

There are some problems with this counter-argument.  There are some things we do that are not out of self-interest. Suicide. Smoking. Abortion.

I think a better way of thinking about altruism is in terms of free will.  If we have a pure deterministic viewpoint of the world, then maybe, altruism doesn't exist.  But, if we have free will, if we can do things merely because we choose or will them to happen, then maybe altruism does exist.

I think another way of thinking about altruism is to think of it as the ultimate purpose/satisfaction in life.  I'm not sure about this one, but a lot of people tell me that the best satisfaction is from making other people happy, usually people like your kids.  

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