Concept and What is: Altruism | Psychology


The word altruism was created by Auguste Comte, French philosopher, who in 1830 characterized it as the group of human dispositions, whether individual or collective, which incline humans to engage others. So altruism is not synonymous with solidarity as many think, is a much broader concept. It is a concept that is opposed to selfishness (specific inclinations and exclusively individual or collective individual).

In Comte's definition altruism while virtue is the attitude of living for others. For a person to be altruistic need to master the selfish instincts which exist naturally in every human being, giving rise to the benevolent inclinations, which are always present.

A selfless man acts in order to reconcile their personal satisfaction with the welfare and satisfaction of their fellow men, their family and their community. Natural instincts of benevolence alone are not altruism. Will form only if the person can give character of habituation. The grace instincts sporadically emerge in human behavior. We need to do a habitual state of altruism that decreases continuously and replace the selfish instincts, making them less active and more controllable. This process of replacement of selfish attitudes for altruistic attitudes can be illustrated by the crop of corn. For while the plant is born and grows is needed constant attention in order to eradicate the weeds, but after the plants grow themselves smother weeds with vigor.

Understanding the concept of altruism has the philosophical relevance of referring to the natural disposition of the human being, which indicates that the human being can be good and generous naturally, without having to divine or supernatural intervention.

According to the thought Comtean altruism comes in three basic categories: attachment, veneration and kindness. The direction that goes from the attachment to the goodness, the intensity of altruism decreases and thus its importance and nobility increase. The attachment concerns the bond that the same have each other. Have veneration refers to the bond that the weak have to with the strongest (or the link between those who came later to those who came before). Finally, goodness, is the feeling that the strongest have in relation to the weakest (or those who came later).
Translated for educational purposes.
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