Altruism is motivated by a desire to help others, while egoism is motivated by a desire to help oneself. Altruists are typically selfless individuals who are always looking out for the welfare of others, while egoists are more concerned with their own needs and goals.

The definition of altruism

The definition of altruism is selflessness. It is the quality of unselfish concern for the welfare of others. Altruism is typically motivated by a desire to help others and often involves sacrifice or putting others before oneself.

The definition of egoism

The definition of egoism is the belief that one’s self is the most important thing in the world. This can manifest as a focus on one’s own needs and desires to the exclusion of others, or as a belief that one is better than others and deserves special treatment.

Altruism Vs. Egoism – Key Differences

Altruism is selfless concern for the welfare of others. It is a motive that leads us to help others without any expectation of reward or benefit for ourselves. Egoism, on the other hand, is a motivation to help others to gain something for ourselves. We may help others because we expect them to help us in return, or because we hope to receive praise or approval from them.

So, what’s the difference between these two motivations? Well, altruism is driven by a desire to improve the well-being of others, while egoism is driven by a desire to improve our well-being. Altruistic acts are done purely out of concern for others, while egoistic acts are done to serve our interests.

Examples of altruism and egoism

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Picture of a person donating blood to a medical facility

In psychology, altruism is defined as helping behaviour that is intended to benefit another person without regard for oneself. By contrast, egoism is defined as a self-centred motivation to act in one’s own best interest.

Examples of altruism might include giving blood to a medical facility, volunteering one’s time at a soup kitchen, or donating money to charity. By contrast, examples of egoism might include hoarding resources for oneself rather than sharing them, behaving rudely or aggressively to get what one wants, or engaging in risky behaviours that could potentially harm others.

While altruistic behaviour is often lauded as being virtuous and selfless, it is important to remember that altruism also has its downsides. For instance, overly altruistic people may neglect their own needs in favour of helping others, which can lead to burnout or resentment. Additionally, people who help others without expecting anything in return may be taken advantage of by those who do not appreciate their kindness.

Overall, it is important to strike a balance between altruism and egoism. Too much of either can be detrimental to both the individual and the people around them.

What is an example of egoism?

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Picture of an egoistic person. with selfie cameras pointed at her

Egoism is the belief that one’s self is the most important thing. An example of egoism would be if someone only thought about their own needs and wants, and didn’t care about other people.

What is the origin of the word “altruism”?

The word altruism is derived from the French word altruisme; which comes from the Latin alteri, meaning “other people” or “others”. The word first appeared in English in the 1800s and has since been used to describe a range of different behaviours.

What are the 4 types of altruism?

Altruism is often thought of as selfless behaviour, but there are four different types of altruism.

1. Reciprocal altruism – This is when we help others with the expectation that they will help us in return. For example, you might help a neighbour carry groceries in exchange for them doing the same for you sometime in the future.

2. Kin selection – This is when we help our family members or other individuals who share our genes because it increases the chances that our genes will be passed on to future generations. For example, parents often make sacrifices for their children because they want them to have a good life and be successful.

3. Altruistic punishment – This is when we punish others even though it costs us something to do so (e.g., time, money, etc.). We do this because we believe that it will benefit society as a whole or send a message that certain behaviours are not acceptable. For example, someone might report a crime to the police even though it puts them at risk of retaliation from the perpetrator.

4. Altruistic helping – This is when we help others without expecting anything in return. We do this simply because we care about other people and want to make their lives better. For example, volunteers often give their time and energy to help those in need without expecting anything in return.

What is toxic altruism?

There is such a thing as toxic altruism, which is when someone pursues altruistic goals to the point where it starts to have negative consequences for them or for those they are trying to help.

For example, someone might volunteer for a charity organization and end up working long hours without being paid. This can lead to burnout and resentment, both of which can have negative impacts on the individual’s health and well-being.

It is important to be aware of the dangers of toxic altruism so that you can avoid it in your own life. If you find yourself in a situation where you are starting to feel overwhelmed or like you are not getting anything out of it, it might be time to reevaluate your involvement.

What is ethical egoism?

Ethical egoism is the belief that it is morally permissible to act in one’s self-interest. This doesn’t mean that ethical egoists think that people should only do what benefits them personally; rather, they believe that as long as one’s actions don’t cause harm to others, acting in one’s self-interest is morally good.

Why is ethical egoism wrong?

Ethical egoism is the belief that it is morally right to act in one’s self-interest. This theory is often criticized for being selfish and short-sighted.

Critics argue that ethical egoism leads to several problems. First, it can encourage people to be manipulative and deceitful to get what they want. Second, it can lead to a lack of cooperation and trust between people, as everyone is looking out for their interests rather than working together for the common good. Third, it can result in a lot of conflict and competition, as people battle for scarce resources.

Ultimately, critics argue that ethical egoism is an unrealistic and dangerous way to live. It puts the individual above all else, which can lead to all sorts of problems both for the individual and for society as a whole.


Featured Image by – Orkun Azap on Unsplash

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