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Altruistic acts are acts committed with the intention to purposively help others, even at the expense of one’s welfare. The English word altruism comes from Latin word alter which means “other”. Auguste Comte is credited as the originator of the word.
Conditions for the Development of Altruistic Behavior
Various explanations on the origin of altruism and cooperation between beings exist. However, all of those have in common that they emphasize that for the existence of altruism, beings need to have at least some access to the faculty of memory, and they need to be able to distinguish and categorize different members of their and other species in some way. Ability to distinguish between members of different species in turn suggests that they also have some, at least rudimentary, understanding of different beings and their qualities. (Broom 2003, p. 89; Dugatkin and Alfieri 2002). In the context of life in general, e.g., biological altruism, the condition of intention is...
- Broom, D. (2003). The evolution of morality and religion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Dugatkin, L. A., & Alfieri, M. S. (2002). A cognitive approach to the study of animal cooperation. In M. Bekoff, C. Alen, & G. M. Burghardt (Eds.), The cognitive animal. Empirical and theoretical perspectives on animal cognition (pp. 413–419). London: The MIT Press.
- Kraut, R. (2018). Altruism. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Spring 2018 ed.). . Accessed 20 Feb 2019.