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Are human motivations purely selfish?
in Philosophy

By K_MichaelK_Michael 60 Pts
I'm pretty sure they are, but I'm open to any proof otherwise.
billbatard
  1. Live Poll

    Are human motivations purely selfish?

    13 votes
    1. Yes
      69.23%
    2. No
      30.77%



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Arguments

  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 1449 Pts
    Absolutely. Even the most altruistic actions are still always rooted in selfishness. We do what we do because either our body or our mind demands it, and even when we are doing something allegedly for the sole benefit of others, we do so ultimately because it makes us feel better and rewards us mentally and emotionally.

    The word "selfish" has a negative connotation from the societal perspective, because it embodies caring about oneself and ignoring one's responsibilities before the society. But if you think about it, there is no responsibility before the society that you do not intend to accept. Your responsibility is only before yourself, and any other responsibility is up to you to assume or not assume. The society is by its nature controlling, hence it views non-conformism as a threat, and one of the manifestations of non-conformism is selfish behaviors - but even the society as a whole ultimately is selfish, as it strives for improving itself above everything else.

    Embracing our selfishness is one of the essential conditions for a strong positive societal evolution. We will not get far if we keep denying our nature. We should harness it and use it to empower ourselves. The society as a whole is better when its individuals know where they stand and do not pretend to be something they are not.
    PlaffelvohfenK_MichaelWordsMatterZombieguy1987wolfie100
  • TKDBTKDB 84 Pts

    "Are human motivations purely selfish?"


    These examples, are examples of human selfishness:

    The millions of illegal aliens, or immigrants who have been coming into the United States since the 1980's.

    The crimes committed by them: The murders, the sexual assaults, the robberies, and the home invasions committed by them, are examples of human selfishness.

    The Democrats, and the Socialist Democrats who are currently pandering to their individual Democratic, and Socialist Democratic followers, or fan bases, are examples of human selfishness.

    The Sanctuary Cities, who are enabling the illegal aliens, or immigrants with sanctuary in the face of Federal laws, is an example of human selfishness, by those same cities.

    And the businesses who utilize the illegal immigrants for their cheap labor, are another example of human selfishness.

    And if some want to address the current POTUS with human selfishness, Hillary Clinton and her individual political philosophies, are other examples of human services.

    If some showed some self respect, integrity, and respect towards themselves, and others, then maybe humanity in general would be in better shape, then the current place that it continues to place itself in, day after day, month after month, and yearly.


    MayCaesarZombieguy1987piloteerTHEDENIER
  • searsear 103 Pts

    "Are human motivations purely selfish?"

    No.
    If so, why would mothers risk their own lives to save their babies?
    If so, why since U.S. military conscription was abandoned do our countrymen still volunteer for U.S. military service, even in time of war?
    If so, why would English have a word like "altruism", if there was no such thing?

    wolfie100
  • @sear
    "If so, why would mothers risk their own lives to save their babies?"

    Because doing so is considered the noble or selfless thing to do, so that she can be remembered as having those qualities after death. Or it could be that she would feel guilty by saving her own life at the cost of her child's so she knows by giving up her life she can avoid a long future of negative feelings around the death of her child, in this way she is saving herself.

    "If so, why since U.S. military conscription was abandoned do our countrymen still volunteer for U.S. military service, even in time of war?"

    This is an easy one with tons of different answers. To feel good about themselves because they will be considered heros. To be able to afford college. To escape a negative situation that they consider to be less ideal than the military. Because they see the way veterans are treated in this society and want that feeling for themselves. The list could go on.

    "If so, why would English have a word like "altruism", if there was no such thing?"

    This is a very poor argument for the ability for humans to act altruistically. True altruism is something that science currently believes exists in lower life forms than humans. A bee will sting to protect the colony losing its life in exchange. As far as we know bees are not capable of thought in the same way we are. They can't connect the dots of stinging causes their death but provides benefit to the colony. They are biologically wired to do that, like when the doctor hits your knee you reflexively kick without deciding whether to do it. Bees will reflexively sting to no benefit to themselves. The action is altruistic. We have the word hibernate in the English language but humans aren't capable of that. We have words that describe things that humans can't do.
    MayCaesarPlaffelvohfen
  • searsear 103 Pts
    Well done WM.
    Wilson offered us a better understanding of altruism.
    Watson & Crick won a Nobel Prize for figuring out chromosomes. But laymen got the wrong idea, that humans use chromosomes to record their blueprint, their traits like the way a tape recorder uses a thin magnetic ribbon to remember a song, or a lecture.
    Wilson said that's backward. It's not that humans use chromosomes. It's that chromosomes create humans, end enter their own human into the game of life, much the same way Norway offers some of its top athletes to compete in Olympic bobsled. The humans may do the competing. But Wilson says it's actually the DNA that's competing. It's why the sex drive is so strong. DNA creating the smartest, strongest, most agile, most long-lived human effort won't matter much if s/he doesn't want to reproduce.

    Your bee example is textbook.
    The explanation for that is:
    the workers that sting and die are all from the same queen. They're not only drones. They're clones. So though one individual bee may sting and die, it saves the hive, which is composed mainly of the same (clone) DNA.

    This casts doubt on the heroic mother idea.
    It's not that she's preserving her reputation. It's that she's perpetuating her DNA, or from Wilson's POV, her DNA is perpetuating itself.

    Wilson's view even explains the disparity in sex drive between men and women.
    The stereotype is that men want as many lovers as possible. That's because men can spend just a few minutes with a woman, and create a human being.
    But for women reproduction is a decades long commitment. 
    Two different styles of reproduction, thus two different strategies for most successfully broadcasting their genes the widest / farthest.
    Men generally are attracted to women that are "good breeders" and women generally are attracted to "good providers". tralphaz

  • I'm not asking how chromosomes perpetuate themselves. They may organize our bodies, but brain development, morals, and ways of thinking develop in ways that DNA cannot control.

    "why would English have a word like "altruism", if there was no such thing?" 
    We also have a word for unicorns, yet there's no such thing.
    Furthermore, altruism is derived from selfishness. I'm not saying that selfish actions are bad in and of themselves.
    Altruism is defined simply as "regard for others." In other words, altruistic actions are taken in consideration of how they will affect others. But I believe that morals and personal adherence to them are selfish, both as a matter of public image and to please yourself in upholding your word. Basically, it's just a matter of your pride, and if pride isn't selfish, I don't know what is.
    sear
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 1449 Pts
    edited March 21
    @sear:

    Let me clarify my point: there is such thing as altruism. It just has selfish roots. Altruism, just like any other human activity, is ultimately self-serving. There are many ways to serve oneself, and some of those ways involve sacrifices on various fronts. For example, I can take my car and donate it to charity - it is altruistic, as it is a massive material sacrifice, but it is also selfish, as I would do it to make myself feel better, or to gain some other indirect benefits from doing charity, such as a higher societal status, for example.

    Altruists, egoists, hedonists, etc. all come from the same place. They just have different characters and, as such, find different ways to satisfy their selfishness.

    I have given quite a bit of money to my friend when she was in trouble. One of the main reasons I did so was because her distress worried me and made me feel bad, and I wanted to help her so the badness of her situation does not eat at me constantly. That was an altruistic, yet selfish act, and there is no reason for me to deny it.
    Similarly, my mother helped me with a lot of money when I was in a strong financial predicament recently. She just as much worried about me and wanted me to be okay. Her actions were also altruistic and selfish at the same time.

    Think about it: would you ever do anything that would not bring you any degree of satisfaction, any tiny positive emotion, any physical pleasure? Why would you do it? Would would be the point? Everything we do has some purpose that roots in ourselves. Everything we do is a response to a certain need or desire of our organism. We do not do things that do not benefit us in any way; we see them as pointless. This is what we evolved into, and for a good reason.
    wolfie100
  • WordsMatterWordsMatter 444 Pts
    edited March 21
    @MayCaesar I think you could phrase this better even though your intent is the same. The particular language you choose frames an "altruistic" human act as something that brings positivity to their life. Whereas committing an "altruistic" act that leads to a negative circumstance that is less negative than the circumstance that would arise by not committing that act is just as selfish and is more easily framed as truly altruistic by the pro side of the debate. Your example of your mother helping you financially fits well, but I think it is important to say that someone can choose a negative outcome, but if they view it as less negative for themselves than a different scenario it still isn't altruistic.

    @sear I appreciate you bringing up this counterpoint and I have a rebuttal. However I must admit that you are straying into logical fallacy territory by asserting that Wilson's definition of altruism is the one to be debated, it ventures near the etymological fallacy or the ambiguity fallacy but for the sake of the debate I will accept that it is not fallacious. My rebuttal to your claim is the existence of humans that absolutely refuse to reproduce and the inability to show such a Bee that acts in the same way. I used "science currently believes" intentionally in my argument as science claims can change, but our most factual basis for the logic of my argument hinges on the currently accepted stance, this can change but Wilson's claim comes from the exact same authority, so it is equal footing.  So our DNA may predispose us to perpetuate our DNA, however I argue that humans have developed so significantly that our abilities of thought, logic, and resoling have overwritten our animalistic instincts. People can choose to completely abandon their immediate or extended families, something a bee is incapable of. even if I concede that Men may be predisposed to "good breeders," you can't argue that even "bad breeders" get the chance to reproduce. Eyesight is an example of such a thing. Poor eyesight should be a weakness that would naturally be an evolutionary disadvantage, however humans have developed thinking to the point that we can counteract that natural disadvantage and those with poor eyesight are just as viable as those with 20/20, overriding what our DNA says should be the case. 

     The ability of choice is what removes a humans ability to act altruistically. We way positives and negatives of both outcomes and we will see positives for ourselves in both outcomes even if one is a worse outcome for ourselves. This is where we venture into the logical fallacy territory as altruism is commonly believed to be an act in which you never even consider yourself. I don't believe humans have the ability to 100% remove themselves from a decision, rendering any choice as unable to be altruistic even if they choose the worse outcome for themselves, because even if you think of the absolute smallest benefit to yourself, whether it be a fleeting moment of feeling good about your choice, then it can't possibly be altruistic. A bee is inherently incapable of even having the option of choice as to sting or not, it is driven by DNA as you say, whereas even if humans have a predisposition to naturally preserve their DNA line its still a choice and not a reflex or instinct and so it can't be fully altruistic. 

  • No, pretty clearly not for reasons people have already pointed out.

    The only people who tend to disagree are libertarians who will get into a semantic argument and try and stretch the definition of "selfishness" to the point of meaningless with arguments like "Oh, so someone decided to jump in front of a bullet and get shot to death to save a stranger's life. Obviously the person who got shot to death placed more priority on other people's lives than their own so they were SELFISHLY following their own priorities and beliefs doing what saved this person's life."

    It's a meaningless argument to make and is largely done because they are ideologically invested in selfishness being important. You don't see them doing the same with any other words that could meet the same criteria, showing their hypocrisy.

    They're basically refusing to engage with the English language and merely making a propaganda point.
  • You guys put such a negative connotation on the word selfish.
  • piloteerpiloteer 249 Pts
    @Ampersand

    Actually, the way the libertarian argument goes is, if someone does an act that could be considered selfless, their actual motive was because that selfless act made them happy, or they were motivated by their selfishness. A good parent is motivated to care for their children because their children are valuable to them emotionally. So when a parent purposely puts themselves in harms way for their children, they are investing an act of suffering for a person who is emotionally valuable to them. You can be selfish and be righteous at the same time. When we do things to help others be happier, it makes US happy, and that’s the real motivation. We don’t do righteous acts because it makes us miserable.
  • @Ampersand an altruistic act isn't just something that costs you something to the benefit of another. For it to be altruistic you have to get absolutely nothing out of it in any shape or form, including the avoidance of a potential negative in the future. So a mother sacrificing herself for her child because she loves her child still isn't altruistic because in performing that act she is avoiding a future where she would feel guilt over not sacrificing herself, or where she feels pain over the lose of her child. In altruism intentions mean nothing, it's only about outcome and if absolutely anything is gained then it's not altruistic. People can still be selfless where the bar is just being more concerned with others.

    I'm also not a libertarian and I hold this view, many more people take things side of the argument than you think. I arrived at this stance through my education in psychology anthropology and biology, with lots of studying and debates on this very topic. Humans are just too advanced to do anything altruistic.
  • We have a sinful nature so yes, but when you become a Christion some of you motivation are not selfish
    K_Michael
  • calebsica said:
    We have a sinful nature so yes, but when you become a Christian some of you motivation are not selfish
    I disagree... Monotheistic religions are anthropocentric, ethnocentric and egocentric answers to existential questioning. The notion of "personally revealed existential truth" (of God's existence) is egocentric in that it "comes from within"... The idea that God created everything for us, is the anthropo/egocentric point of view...  The very idea of "sin", is the basis for the Heaven/Hell reward-punishment system... Either you try not to sin because you want to go to Heaven or because you don't want to go to Hell, either way, it's anything but altruistic in nature. You're told to be altruistic in order to be rewarded or to avoid punishment, so ultimately your altruism is also ego-motivated, selfish. 
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • piloteer said:
    @Ampersand

    Actually, the way the libertarian argument goes is, if someone does an act that could be considered selfless, their actual motive was because that selfless act made them happy, or they were motivated by their selfishness. A good parent is motivated to care for their children because their children are valuable to them emotionally. So when a parent purposely puts themselves in harms way for their children, they are investing an act of suffering for a person who is emotionally valuable to them. You can be selfish and be righteous at the same time. When we do things to help others be happier, it makes US happy, and that’s the real motivation. We don’t do righteous acts because it makes us miserable.
    You seem to just be repeating my argument back to me but coming to a different conclusion. Let's look at the example I gave:

    "Oh, so someone decided to jump in front of a bullet and get shot to death to save a stranger's life. Obviously the person who got shot to death placed more priority on other people's lives than their own so they were SELFISHLY following their own priorities and beliefs doing what saved this person's life."

    In both my example and your example, we both explain how because the person making the sacrifice has made a conscious decision to help others they obviously place some value on helping others and therefore, the libertarian argument goes, by helping others they are actually fulfilling their own goals and motives. The difference is you think this is actually a valid argument when it really isn't.

    Your error comes in assuming that because you care about and are invested in helping others, that means you are selfish. It isn't, because that's the very opposite of selfishness. Libertarians seem to feel they're being clever and winning the argument on a technicality, while in actual fact they're being irrelevant.

    1) Linguistics can be looked at prescriptively or descriptively. Descriptively is my preference and refers to how language is actually used in reality. When people talk about selfishness, that only refers to self-centered actions and does not refer to actions where people help others, even if a person is happy about helping others. Ergo people are very often not selfish.

    2) However you seem to think that by the definition of selfishness you have a point, from the prescriptive point of view. Let's look at the very first definition of selfishness that pops up on a google search: "(of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure." So no mention of the qualifications cations you put down that a person has to have absolutely no personal investment or emotional reaction to their help for others. If a person has consideation for others and is not chiefly concerned with their own profit or pleasure, they are not being selfish. It doesn't matter if they do feel some happiness about helping others so the criteria you are trying to suggest are simply false.

    So in summary your argument is a semantic argument based around a weird made up definition of selfishness that only seems to appear for these debates.

    @Ampersand an altruistic act isn't just something that costs you something to the benefit of another. For it to be altruistic you have to get absolutely nothing out of it in any shape or form, including the avoidance of a potential negative in the future. So a mother sacrificing herself for her child because she loves her child still isn't altruistic because in performing that act she is avoiding a future where she would feel guilt over not sacrificing herself, or where she feels pain over the lose of her child. In altruism intentions mean nothing, it's only about outcome and if absolutely anything is gained then it's not altruistic. People can still be selfless where the bar is just being more concerned with others.

    I'm also not a libertarian and I hold this view, many more people take things side of the argument than you think. I arrived at this stance through my education in psychology anthropology and biology, with lots of studying and debates on this very topic. Humans are just too advanced to do anything altruistic.
    False. Dealt with above. To not be selfish there is absolutely no requirement that you feel no joy or pleasure or what have you in either the common everyday usage of "selfish" or the dictionary definition. These arguments are only selfish according to made up definitions you are advancing solely to win the debate.

    If you'd like to bring up any technical definitions of selfishness or altruism related specifically to psychology, anthropology or biology and try and argue that there are no altruistic actions within the narrow confines of those specific fields then feel free, but I honestly doubt you'd be able to do that.
  • searsear 103 Pts

    KM,

    Yours is the first post I read Thurs. AM and I enjoyed it very much. It is thoughtful, and seemingly well reasoned. My thanks to you.

    "why would English have a word like "altruism", if there was no such thing?" s

    "We also have a word for unicorns, yet there's no such thing." KM


    EXCELLENT counterpoint, but ironically not valid.

    You are correct that we know of no unicorn genome.

    BUT !!

    There is such thing as altruism. So though your logic is impeccable, your conclusion is wrong.

    "Furthermore, altruism is derived from selfishness." KM

    PRECISELY Wilson's point!


    "Altruism is defined simply as "regard for others."" KM

    Even if that is one of the definitions, it is not the only definition.

    And in this context it is insufficient.

    "Regard for others" is patting the orphan on the head when encountered at the feed lot.

    Voluntarily, knowingly surrendering ones own life to save the life of another is more than "regard for others".

    "In other words, altruistic actions are taken in consideration of how they will affect others." KM

    So was nuking Japan.


    "But I believe that morals and personal adherence to them are selfish, both as a matter of public image and to please yourself in upholding your word. Basically, it's just a matter of your pride, and if pride isn't selfish, I don't know what is." KM

    Time is the unstated factor here.

    This keen insight you have posted reflects a paradox in human life.

    - Theft is bad. BUT !!

    - A jobless, homeless mother with a starving child may only find stealing bread as a means to feed the child, an expedient to a legitimate goal. That's short term.

    - Long term, theft is not an expedient to a legitmate goal.

    My thanks again to you KM. I enjoyed your thoughtful post very much, though I mostly disagree.


    "Altruism, just like any other human activity, is ultimately self-serving." MC

    Two superb posters in a row!

    MC, please help me sort this out:

    - "Every man for himself" is obviously self-serving, by definition. So if the opposite,

    - "Altruism, just like any other human activity, is ultimately self-serving." MC

    How can that be? I'M NOT DISAGREEING. But surely you recognize the paradox.


    "Altruists, egoists, hedonists, etc. all come from the same place. They just have different characters" MC

    It's an ends vs means distinction. The end is the same, but the means may be opposite, an allusion to your previous point.

     - ran out of time -


  • @sear
    " Theft is bad. BUT !!

    - A jobless, homeless mother with a starving child may only find stealing bread as a means to feed the child, an expedient to a legitimate goal. That's short term.

    - Long term, theft is not an expedient to a legitmate goal."
    both ARE selfish though. whether it is "bad" is irrelevant
  • @Ampersand selfless and altruistic are two very different things which I addressed in my previous post. You are trying to conflate the two to claim that altruism is possible. If someone performs an action that benefit an individual significantly more than it does themselves, and that other is the only one they were concerned with at the time, then even if they feel good about it it's still a selfless act because whether you get something out of it it not doesn't matter here, all that matters to be selfless is to be putting someone else before yourself. However altruism hinges on whether or not you gain anything at all, even the tiniest thing or avoidance of something negative in the future. The very essence of altruism is doing something that benefits someone else in which you get absolutely nothing in any way shape or form. Whereas bring selfless only requires that you are not concerned with someone besides yourself but getting something out of there act won't change the selflessness of it. Humans are capable of acting selflessly, humans are not capable of acting altruistically, they are two different concepts.
  • piloteerpiloteer 249 Pts
    @Ampersand

    Your argument doesn't seem to be able to dispute something I pointed out in my argument. People don't do charitable acts because it makes them miserable, they do them because it makes them feel better about themselves. Your argument is based on long held misconceptions of motivation. Since when did a definition constitute as a scientific fact? Is that definition not just a socially constructed interpretation, like ALL definitions? When someone takes a bullet for someone else, it's because they know they wouldn't be happy with themselves if they didn't do it. You still haven't demonstrated how righteousness cannot also be selfishly motivated, and just using Google definitions isn't going to convince anybody of how motivation really works.
  • AmpersandAmpersand 601 Pts
    edited March 25
    piloteer said:
    @Ampersand

    Your argument doesn't seem to be able to dispute something I pointed out in my argument. People don't do charitable acts because it makes them miserable, they do them because it makes them feel better about themselves. Your argument is based on long held misconceptions of motivation. Since when did a definition constitute as a scientific fact? Is that definition not just a socially constructed interpretation, like ALL definitions? When someone takes a bullet for someone else, it's because they know they wouldn't be happy with themselves if they didn't do it. You still haven't demonstrated how righteousness cannot also be selfishly motivated, and just using Google definitions isn't going to convince anybody of how motivation really works.
    It invalidates your conclusion. As per the definitions I've given, your points have nothing to do with selfishness and can be disregarded without needing to delve any deeper and in fact, there would be little point in doing so as they're irrelevant to the topic under discussion.

    Say as a hypothetical I define selfishness as a state of being completely and totally bald. In that case I can logically argue that people aren't always selfish because sometimes they have hair - and I could even scientifically back up that definition. Of course the argument would still be utterly worthless because that definition of selfish is one I've made up and has no relation to "selfishness" as it's used in reality.

    Likewise while at least a little bit tangentially related to selfishness, your argument still only addresses a made up definition of selfishness that you have concocted in your head and has nothing to do with selfishness as it's used in reality. I've back this up with an example and evidence in my prior post.

    Form a relevant argument and I'll address it.

    @Ampersand selfless and altruistic are two very different things which I addressed in my previous post. You are trying to conflate the two to claim that altruism is possible. If someone performs an action that benefit an individual significantly more than it does themselves, and that other is the only one they were concerned with at the time, then even if they feel good about it it's still a selfless act because whether you get something out of it it not doesn't matter here, all that matters to be selfless is to be putting someone else before yourself. However altruism hinges on whether or not you gain anything at all, even the tiniest thing or avoidance of something negative in the future. The very essence of altruism is doing something that benefits someone else in which you get absolutely nothing in any way shape or form. Whereas bring selfless only requires that you are not concerned with someone besides yourself but getting something out of there act won't change the selflessness of it. Humans are capable of acting selflessly, humans are not capable of acting altruistically, they are two different concepts.
    Firstly, seeing as the topic is "Are human motivations purely selfish?" and you are the one to start trying to work in definitions which you admit are non synonymous with selfishness; you're the one who's conflating two points.

    Secondly, let me put my argument: I reject the premise of your argument that "altruism" is "doing something that benefits someone else in which you get absolutely nothing in any way shape or form". Now of course I'm well within my rights to do so seeing as you haven't presented a single iota of evidence to back up that definition.
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 1449 Pts
    sear said:

    "Altruism, just like any other human activity, is ultimately self-serving." MC

    Two superb posters in a row!

    MC, please help me sort this out:

    - "Every man for himself" is obviously self-serving, by definition. So if the opposite,

    - "Altruism, just like any other human activity, is ultimately self-serving." MC

    How can that be? I'M NOT DISAGREEING. But surely you recognize the paradox.


    "Altruists, egoists, hedonists, etc. all come from the same place. They just have different characters" MC

    It's an ends vs means distinction. The end is the same, but the means may be opposite, an allusion to your previous point.

     - ran out of time -


    Logically, if C follows from A and C follows from B, it does not necessarily mean that A is B.

    Both "every man for himself" and altruism are self-serving. They are not equal, however: there are many different ways to serve oneself, many of them being mutually exclusive.

    As you pointed out, the end is the same, but the means are different. We are all organic machines driven by our chemical reactions: we want to experience more reactions associated with positive feelings, hence we choose the course of action that allegedly will lead to that. And since all humans have different hardware, so to speak, the courses of action also end up different.

    We like to judge people's actions based on certain moral systems. Many people see altruism as a virtue, while hedonism as a sin. Many others see altruism as a sin, and hedonism as a virtue. And the proponents of each system of view have the respective morals so deeply ingrained in their physiology, that they do not even recognise the subjectivity of their views. 
    But in the end, we are all machines. Machines judging each other based on our internal programs. As any other machine, we are self-serving: we do what the organism favors. Just as a car accelerates when you press the throttle pedal hard because this is what minimises its potential energy, we choose our behaviors and beliefs based on what minimises negative feelings in our lives.

    And we are making a big mess of it, for that, as so often we take a mode of action that, in the end, leads to a tremendous amount of pain. We are not perfect machines, we make serious mistakes, and often our own views become our undoing. 
    Ampersand
  • piloteerpiloteer 249 Pts
    @Ampersand

    If you consider it selfish to put your own wants and needs before the wants and needs of others, then my "made up definition" of selfishness works quite well with my argument. If you don't consider that to be selfish, then your definition of selfishness is questionable.
  • @K_Michael many motivations are altruistic we merely dont notice them people are greedy but not all people all the time
    The passion for destruction is also a creative passion. Mikhail Bakunin

  • @piloteer shame on you
    K_Michael
    The passion for destruction is also a creative passion. Mikhail Bakunin

  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 1449 Pts
    @billbatard

    Greed for altruistic actions is still greed. When your well-being is dependent on you performing altruistic acts, and as a result you pursue those acts consistently, then you are being just as greedy, as someone else whose well-being is dependent on material goods and who pursues them consistently.

    People who claim moral supremacy over someone else are usually the ones most blind to what their own morals are driven by.
  • AmpersandAmpersand 601 Pts
    piloteer said:
    @Ampersand

    If you consider it selfish to put your own wants and needs before the wants and needs of others, then my "made up definition" of selfishness works quite well with my argument. If you don't consider that to be selfish, then your definition of selfishness is questionable.
    I already gave you a long explanation of why it doesn't work. Simply saying that your explanation works is not an actual reason for your explanation to work.
  • @K_Michael many motivations are altruistic we merely dont notice them people are greedy but not all people all the time
    You say we don't notice them, but clearly you noticed them, since you're pointing it out now. What is different about you to notice other people's actions? 

    Greed and selfishness are not the same, you know. Greed is usually defined as a desire for money and/or power. Selfishness means serving your own interests. I believe that selfishness comes in four parts. The first two are obvious, the third is more subtle, and the fourth is one I think very few ever pick up on.
    1. Pleasure and Gain. (The Carrot) This is basically just greed. Having things makes you feels happy and motivates you to take actions that provide with more satisfaction in this regard.
    2. Pain Avoidance (The Stick). Self-preservation motivates you to avoid things that would cause you pain, such as not doing your chores if your parents support spankings. Pretty self-explanatory.
    3. Public Image. Motivations based upon how society views you. Why people are much less likely to steal or do other things considered "bad" when in front of other people or are likely to get caught. Not because you care how it affects others, but how it will affect the way others act towards you.
    4. Moral Conceptions (or Self Image). You do things that you consider the "right" thing to do, not to serve others but to satisfy your morals. You believe that that is what you should do, so it motivates you to do exactly that. This can overcome the three more obvious selfish actions if you have a strong enough conviction.
  • piloteerpiloteer 249 Pts
    @billbatard

    Could you please elude to me exactly what I should be shameful about, because I haven't the slightest idea!!!
  • @K_Michael

    No, I don't like to think so. 
    Some people's motivations may be selfish but you cannot assume that the whole human's motivations are selfish based on judging few people. 
    Human Beings are complex creatures. No one can understand the thought process and how the human brain works. Whatever facts scientists have found out about our brain are correct until it is proven wrong.
    So every individual function differently. 
    There are people out there who love helping people and caring for others. 
    You may argue that while they are loving others, they are also fulfilling their inner satisfaction of helping. But, that doesn't justify the word 'selfish'. 
    Selfish has different meaning. It is to care about oneself than other and to think oneself above others. 
    So, obviously, these won't apply to everyone.
    It is impossibe to prove such an assumption. 
    So, what made you think that human's motivations are selfish? 
    Please enlighten me.
  • @K_Michael

    No, I don't like to think so. 
    Some people's motivations may be selfish but you cannot assume that the whole human's motivations are selfish based on judging few people. 
    Human Beings are complex creatures. No one can understand the thought process and how the human brain works. Whatever facts scientists have found out about our brain are correct until it is proven wrong.
    So every individual function differently. 
    There are people out there who love helping people and caring for others. 
    You may argue that while they are loving others, they are also fulfilling their inner satisfaction of helping. But, that doesn't justify the word 'selfish'. 
    Selfish has different meaning. It is to care about oneself than other and to think oneself above others. 
    So, obviously, these won't apply to everyone.
    It is impossibe to prove such an assumption. 
    So, what made you think that human's motivations are selfish? 
    Please enlighten me.
  • @MayCaesar

    How can you consider altruistic actions as selfish? 
    By getting satisfaction from helping others is not "SELFISH".
    You may need to know the real meaning of the word "selfish". 
    Please understand it before writing such a thing.
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