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folieraisonnante answered your question: Do you believe in true altruism?

It is impossible. There is always a benefit to an individual doing an act of kindness. Even if just the good feeling gained from helping out.

I completely agree.

In social psychology, there’s this thing called the Negative-state Relief Model, which can be applied to altruism. Basically, it says that when we perceive a situation which evokes a negative affect we participate in activities which raise our mood. So, using this model, one can postulate that the motive of at least some helping behaviors which may otherwise be attributed to altruism is really just the desire to reduce a negative mood.

However, there is also something called the Empathy-alturism Hypothesis which posits that once empathy is felt for another individual who is in need the motivation to help them arises, and the benefits for the self are secondary to actually helping the other person. The recognition or positive feelings or whatever other reward which can be acquired from the exchange is just an unintended side-effect.

Anyway. I tend to find the first one more valid. They are both interesting concepts, though.

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