altruism

altruism
/al"trooh iz'euhm/, n.
1. the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others (opposed to egoism).
2. Animal Behav. behavior by an animal that may be to its disadvantage but that benefits others of its kind, as a warning cry that reveals the location of the caller to a predator.
[1850-55; < F altruisme, equiv. to autru(i) others ( < VL *alterui, obl. form of L alter other ( > F autre), with -ui from cui to whom; -l- restored from L alter) + -isme -ISM; popularized through trans. of A. Comte, who perh. coined it, on the model of égoisme EGOISM]

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Ethical theory that regards the good of others as the end of moral action; by extension, the disposition to take the good of others as an end in itself.

The term (French, altruisme, derived from Latin alter: "other") was coined in the 19th century by Auguste Comte and adopted generally as a convenient antithesis to egoism. Most altruists have held that each person has an obligation to further the pleasures and alleviate the pains of other people. The same argument holds if happiness, rather than pleasure, is taken as the end of life.

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ethics
 in ethics, a theory of conduct that regards the good of others as the end of moral action. The term (French altruisme, derived from Latin alter, “other”) was coined in the 19th century by Auguste Comte (Comte, Auguste), the founder of Positivism, and adopted generally as a convenient antithesis to egoism. As a theory of conduct, its adequacy depends on an interpretation of “the good.” If the term is taken to mean pleasure and the absence of pain, most altruists have agreed that a moral agent has an obligation to further the pleasures and alleviate the pains of other people. The same argument holds if happiness is taken as the end of life. But critics have asked, if no one has a moral obligation to procure his own happiness, why should anyone else have an obligation to procure happiness for him? Other conflicts have arisen between immediate pain and long-range good, especially when the good envisioned by the doer does not coincide with the vision of the beneficiary.

      Some British Utilitarians, such as Herbert Spencer (Spencer, Herbert) and Leslie Stephen (Stephen, Sir Leslie), attacked the distinction between self and others that is basic to both altruism and egoism. Such Utilitarians viewed the end of moral activity as the welfare of society, the social organism.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Altruism — • A term formed by Auguste Comte in 1851, to denote the benevolent, as contrasted with the selfish propensities Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Altruism     Altruism      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • altruism — ALTRUÍSM s.n. Atitudine morală sau dispoziţie sufletească a celui care acţionează dezinteresat în favoarea altora; doctrină morală care preconizează o asemenea atitudine. – Din fr. altruisme. Trimis de Alex, 25.11.2008. Sursa: DEX 98  Altruism ≠ …   Dicționar Român

  • altruism —    Altruism is disinterested benevolence. In other words, an action is altruistic if it is done solely for the benefit of another. Christian philosophers differ on whether it is possible for us to be altruistic. Hobbes took the extreme view that… …   Christian Philosophy

  • altruism — (n .) 1853, unselfishness, opposite of egoism, from Fr. altruisme, coined or popularized 1830 by French philosopher Auguste Comte (1798 1857), from autrui, from O.Fr. altrui, of or to others, from L. alteri, dative of alter other (see ALTER (Cf.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Altruism — Al tru*ism, n. [F. altruisme (a word of Comte s), It. altrui of or to others, fr. L. alter another.] Regard for others, both natural and moral; devotion to the interests of others; brotherly kindness; opposed to {egoism} or {selfishness}.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • altruism — index benevolence (disposition to do good), charity, goodwill, humanity (humaneness), largess (generosity), philanthropy …   Law dictionary

  • altruism — [n] unselfish concern benevolence, charity, humanitarianism, kindness, magnanimity, philanthropy, public spirit, selflessness, social conscience; concept 633 …   New thesaurus

  • altruism — ► NOUN 1) unselfish concern for others. 2) Zoology behaviour of an animal that benefits another at its own expense. DERIVATIVES altruist noun altruistic adjective altruistically adverb. ORIGIN from Italian altrui somebody else , from Latin alteri …   English terms dictionary

  • altruism — [al′tro͞o iz΄əm] n. [Fr altruisme < It altrui or Fr autrui, of or to others < L alter, another: see ALTER] 1. unselfish concern for the welfare of others; selflessness 2. Ethics the doctrine that the general welfare of society is the proper …   English World dictionary

  • Altruism — Selflessness redirects here. For the 1965 jazz album, see Selflessness: Featuring My Favorite Things. Giving alms to the poor is often considered an altruistic action in many cultures and religions. Altruism …   Wikipedia

  • altruism — Behaviour which takes account of the interests of others, usually treated as in opposition to egoism, selfishness, and individualism . There are extensive theoretical and empirical research literatures in social psychology, economics, political… …   Dictionary of sociology

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