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Are there logical arguments for why one ought to be Altruistic?

 
 
elnate
 
Reply Wed 31 Oct, 2012 01:30 am
"[T]here is one word—a single word—which can blast the morality of altruism out of existence and which it cannot withstand—the word: ‘Why?’ Why must man live for the sake of others? Why must he be a sacrificial animal? Why is that the good? There is no earthly reason for it—and, ladies and gentlemen, in the whole history of philosophy no earthly reason has ever been given." ---Ayn Rand [Philosophy: Who Needs It, pp. 61–62]

Someone tried to logically prove to me why one ought to be altruistic. I found a list of logical fallacies here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies and I'd like to know which one's apply to what he wrote. This is what he said...

"You should be altruistic because in the long run it will be beneficial not only to society, but also to yourself. Being altruistic fosters and encourages a society in which people help those in need of help, which ultimately means you will be helped when you need it. Conversely, altruism also encourages a society where negative acts against others are discouraged, meaning for yourself that you are less likely to be attacked, stolen from, killed, raped, etc. On the evolutionary level it means that a society that protects and helps each other, and does not ransack his fellow man whenever he deems it beneficial to himself in the short run, has a greater chance of survival, both for the group as a whole, as well as for the individual within that group, which in the end leads to a much increased probability of reproduction, which is the ultimate evolutionary goal of any individual being."

I believe he commited the the broken window fallacy. Take a look at this, it's only 3 minutes. It's a good explanation of the this logical fallacy. The Broken Window Fallacy -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gG3AKoL0vEs

After watching it, replace the hooligan with the store owner breaking his own window instead, and now you have the exact same altruistic argument which is guilty of using this logical fallacy. What do you think?

What other logical fallacies do you think he made?
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elnate
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Oct, 2012 01:40 am
@elnate,
A little more analysis on top of what I said in regards to the broken window fallacy.

His first argument is a contradiction. If you are told that you should do something because it’s in your own interest then you are NOT being advised to be altruistic.

He doesn't define altruism. Ayn Rand wasn’t criticizing benevolence and good will when she argued against altruism. In fact, she felt her morality of self-interest provided the foundation for both of these things.

Now, for instance, lets say someone is in need, so much need that they require someone to care for them for all their life. You don’t want to do this, and you know it won’t be good for you, but according to altruism, you should. How does this benefit you in the long run? Why does society matter in this situation? Why do your genes matter at this point?

Finally, the argument that the main goal of life is to reproduce. That’s all. No ifs, ands, or buts. Yes, it’s that true that for praying mantis, the purpose of life is to reproduce. The male is eaten while he inseminates his mate, so that she can have enough energy to lay her eggs. The male allows this happen because his sole purpose is to pass on his genes.

How does that apply to humans? While some of us are equipped to reproduce, it doesn’t mean that reproduction is our ‘ultimate evolutionary goal’. In fact, there is no such thing as an ‘ultimate evolutionary goal’, because evolution has no goals. Evolution is not a planned process. It does no engineering. The end products were never visualized. No goals exist. There is no thought of failure or success. There is no seeking of perfection. There is no seeking of anything. Evolution does not do anything. It only happens. As animals we are sexual beings, but that doesn’t mean we only have sex for the purpose of reproduction. This is really easy to prove: people who are infertile have sex, get married, etc; couples who are fertile may also choose not to have children for a variety of reasons.. yet they are still a ‘couple’ and they still have sex. So there are other reasons why individuals unite and have sexual relationships, besides reproduction. If you don’t believe it, try to go up to the first woman you see and ask her if she’ll have sex with you. If reproduction is her ultimate goal, she’ll say yes. (That’s what a preying mantis would do, right, so why wouldn’t a human?)

Just to add a little more.

Consider the first sentence, “You should be altruistic because in the long run, it will be beneficial not only to society, but also to yourself.” Altruism, by definition, is sacrificing one’s self for the sake of others. This is antithetical to the furtherance of the self and in no way could “be beneficial.” I think you’re confusing kindness with altruism, so I’ll point out that kindness and good will towards others are conditional acts, filtered by the virtue of justice. We treat those we judge to be valuable with kindness. An argument could be made that other people in a society are valuable as partners in trade, and thus could reasonably be treated kindly.

Take a look at the next sentence, “Being altruistic fosters and encourages a society in which people help those in need of help, which ultimately means you will be helped when you need it.” To which I would reply, “Says who?” Altruism does not guarantee that you will be helped. Altruism is simply a moral philosophy telling individuals what they ought to do. You’re extrapolating a moral philosophy into probabilities that, in reality, contain far more variables than you’re willing to admit. Furthermore, history has shown altruism to give birth to the most heinous dictatorships (Soviet Russia, Hitler’s Germany) and justify the most deadly actions (the mass slaughter of Jews in the 20th century in the name of preserving the greater society). Far from providing ‘eventual help,’ altruism is much more likely to kill you.

The major problem with confronting what he wrote with logic is that he is speaking in large-scale terms, i.e. “society.” Why should we be moral? What constitutes a moral action? What constitutes a value? These are all questions that must necessarily begin at the individual level, but the paragraph also mixes concepts and drops contexts which than continues to be built upon assumptions, stretched from nothing, and applied broadly to a society.

Here is the bottom line: altruism is always the sacrificing of the self to others; of higher values for lower values, and in no possible way is that ever beneficial to an individual or a group of individuals because it necessarily truncates values, lives, goals, and minds. No amount of twisted logic could sanction such an anti-individual, anti-life philosophy. And remember, morality is a code of ethics to guide the actions of individuals. “Society” is nothing except for a collection of individual human beings.
alexx4848
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Nov, 2012 02:12 am
@elnate,
"Take a look at the next sentence, “Being altruistic fosters and encourages a society in which people help those in need of help, which ultimately means you will be helped when you need it.” To which I would reply, “Says who?” Altruism does not guarantee that you will be helped. Altruism is simply a moral philosophy telling individuals what they ought to do. You’re extrapolating a moral philosophy into probabilities that, in reality, contain far more variables than you’re willing to admit. Furthermore, history has shown altruism to give birth to the most heinous dictatorships (Soviet Russia, Hitler’s Germany) and justify the most deadly actions (the mass slaughter of Jews in the 20th century in the name of preserving the greater society). Far from providing ‘eventual help,’ altruism is much more likely to kill you."

How exactly is altruism responsible for genocide, that's a fairly contradictory cause and effect. Especially being that the cause is an action the act of being altruistic or that you treat others better than you treat yourself and the effect is a an action as well the act of butchering an entire people. Even drawn out to it's darkest extreme mass suicide seems far more likely as your more likely to harm yourselves than others. Not that that's likely either.

"Here is the bottom line: altruism is always the sacrificing of the self to others; of higher values for lower values, and in no possible way is that ever beneficial to an individual or a group of individuals because it necessarily truncates values, lives, goals, and minds. No amount of twisted logic could sanction such an anti-individual, anti-life philosophy. And remember, morality is a code of ethics to guide the actions of individuals. “Society” is nothing except for a collection of individual human beings."

I don't disagree that society is a collection of individual human beings. Follow me here and tell me if my logic is twisted. Perhaps it's possible to be altruistic in moderation. To aid those who it is beneficial for you to aid, or those whom you gain a greater amount of emotional satisfaction from helping. Perhaps there are those who have more than they need or can use or would be just as happy and content with less, the emotional component which is the important part for the "value" which they receive from life directs their actions. Perhaps by gauging the amount of sacrifice you make and by the amount of satisfaction and value you receive from helping others you can be altruistic without destroying yourself. Keeping in mind that it sacrifice encourages the same in others and a broader feeling of good will towards others. i.e the Military, God, Jesus, other deity or "savior", the founding fathers, other sort of imagery used to dope up the masses. I don't believe any of these things should inspire such confidence or inspiration but the reason is that there is a lack of self-sacrifice, if we applaud these individuals and their actions. If they have a positive effect on our society and we together have decided that serve a purpose in making our world better and that the value of what they sacrifice to us makes the whole world better. Than perhaps, just perhaps we should start. Logically speaking if we suppose that we describe the world as improving or becoming worse in any sort of way and although logically speaking we might find a disagreement I think we can for the physical reality of living life. Then we must assume that being altruistic is positive and encourages that positivity in others. You say that this is wrong that you can not possibly take from yourself and give to another and come out better at the end. I think that your confusing altruism with selflessness, I agree that there's no such thing as selflessness. However altruism provides a metaphysical worth far greater. A worth which we have already decided is for the common good. Ethically speaking those values should include a degree of altruism, good will, and kindness to all mankind differentiating of whether or not they have value to that individual or not, frequency however is a personal judgment.


0 Replies
 
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Nov, 2012 02:21 am
@elnate,
Quote:
Why must man live for the sake of others
What nonsense is this?

If you get a job to earn money, are you living for the sake of others?
If you don't have money and don't get a job, are you now living off others?

If you better your skills, are you doing so for the sake of others?
If you don't better your skills, are you relying on the skills of others?

If you have a child, are you doing so for the sake of others?

If you make friends, are you doing so for the sake of others?

If you acquire assets (eg a home, shares, car etc), are you doing so for the sake of others?

If you stay fit and healthy, are you doing so for the sake of others?

If you eat good food, are you doing so for the sake of others?

If you are true to yourself, are you being true for the sake of others?

If you develop your own self esteem, are you doing so for the sake of others?

If you learn about yourself, and develop yourself into a genuine/true/congruent person, are you doing so for the sake of others?

If you answered no to any of them...how then do you believe altruism is the highest ideal? Or even a moderately important one (considering how much of peoples lives the above takes up)?
imans
 
  0  
Reply Sat 3 Nov, 2012 09:01 am
@elnate,
the problem is what u r usin existing abstractions about objective true realities values to mean smthg else basically related to the concept ensurin advantages in killin others or else

altruism u killed is the recognition of else existence so totally different other

while u replaced it to define others recognition as urself while knowin how it is impossible and that principally altruism was meaning the opposite before u used it killed

any abstract existence is to objective facts, u cant abstract urself to put a word on being
altruism mean the opposite of u so kind of abstract definition of else from ur perspective which justify in a way how u can see it existin

when u see that ur opposite exist then u know that only truth exist and u as being else to truth so its opposite too in a way which also why u could b aware of the truth out, so how individually any is free and objectively any is relative to objective truth

but of course as u clearly said one cant b for another when it is the opposite in all logical and objective terms

there cant b another unless from one existence, so by definition the other which is also one itself is killed and that attitude mean principally to kill the truth for objective ownerships to realities of ones as if one can define objective shares

0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Nov, 2012 10:17 pm
@elnate,
I think I said before, in a related thread, that if/when altruism is an expression of compassion it is also a reflection of psychological and spiritual maturity. One "ought" to have such a quality.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Nov, 2012 10:29 pm
who gives a **** if it is all rational? we are not all rational beings. by modeling good behavior towards others we encourage and get more good behavior ourselves, and most of us like that and want that to happen. the golden rule is the number one rule of humanity because it has proven to be the most important. trying to make it all rational is putting legs on a snake as Alan Watts would say....it is to let your ego run away with you, it is to become blind to reality.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Nov, 2012 10:58 pm
It depends...

If you believe that people are merely meat puppets, devoid of free will and hard wired from birth to follow a given path, it is perfectly logical if you also accept that the path you're neurologically welded to is perpetuation of the species as opposed to your own gene pool.

You can, of course, still be convinced that you are nothing more than a meat puppet but find altuisim illogical if you are also convinced that your predetermined path is perpetuation of your own genes.

You can also choose to perhaps fool yourself and view your life in a less deconstructed manner and simply appreciate altruism for the wonderful marvel it seems to be.

Consider this: Which view makes life more worth living?





hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Nov, 2012 11:00 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Quote:
Consider this: Which view makes life more worth living?

consider this: humans are both evil and good...which side do you want to encourage?
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Nov, 2012 11:26 pm
@hawkeye10,
It is beyond my ability to broadly encourage any human behavior.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 01:39 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:

It is beyond my ability to broadly encourage any human behavior.

i am so sorry, I mistook you for a Christian.
0 Replies
 
imans
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 06:17 am
no when u r good to another that fact result is enslavin u to b less then that other so that other for instance can take advantage of it

the good that return to u is only when u consider objective superiority, which is then from infinite different ways existing

objective superiority is aimin constant stability reason or abstract true fact of existence, then true reality of positive freedom become a certainty of being, and even at the edge of it any move meanin objective betterments could witness its own positive existence moving really freely in aimin the conscious so the self freedom as objective superiority

truth is everything bc truth is superiority so infinite new openings for the constant superiority
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 12:56 pm
@hawkeye10,
I agree, but do consider G.B. Shaw's caveat: "Do not do to others as you would have them do to you, for their taste may be different."
I mention this for its humor value. In general the Golden Rule is golden.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 01:02 pm
@JLNobody,
do you also agree that working matters more than being logically sound or even fully rational? zen certainly supports this view, and I saw it repeatedly in my engineering training where equations seemed to come from nowhere and make no sense and the professors response to questioning them was "the equation works, use it".
imans
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 01:10 pm
@hawkeye10,
it doesnt mean that being logical dont matter on the contrary
the problem is what u cant see value objectively u keep meanin one superiority as the right thing reference

being logical is what would make u feel useful to urself at least in workin through good equations
while also ur free logical wills would become right by realizin objective value being more




hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 01:14 pm
@imans,
zen teaches that experience trumps logic, and that if alleged truth does not get ratified by our personal life experience then it should be abandoned. in other words start with logic and what seems to be true, and then take a wait and see approach.

i am a believer.

furthermore: the golden rule has been ratified by many millennia of life experience, it is beyond being fodder for ego games like this thread OP is doing.

IT WORKS, USE IT!
imans
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 01:31 pm
@hawkeye10,
i add to what works the most i know the best what work that is how i obviously know about anything more then anyone of u here while i have no interest inn at all, bc i use it right i know objective values while u live of ur illusions

now just this second ur life can b upside down and u would forget about everything u think now being ur beliefs
while me no bc im true so built myself on what really work
imans
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 01:39 pm
@imans,
n talkin about what work in ur personal life to someone who is killed from his living rights and in time of existence end in worse global wars and evil insolent conditions, is exhibitin ur life wills and ways as well as putin down zen references that inspire it, hypocrits insolents u all
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 01:45 pm
@imans,
Quote:
bc i use it right i know objective values while u live of ur illusions

keeping in tune with the universe takes constant diligence and a strong constitution, but it can be done. getting swamped by illusions does not need to happen.

Quote:
now just this second ur life can b upside down and u would forget about everything u think now being ur beliefs
when that happens to me the list of things that I think I know gets shorter....just so long as one thing you know remains on this list we can always rebuild.
imans
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2012 01:56 pm
@hawkeye10,
no it is not true u r inventin things even about u which is worse could happen to u

what is destroyed cannot b rebuilt so buildin is wrong and destruction is what u must do

and about osmose with cosmos this is bullshit, the max powers u can b truly connected to is powers of ur ennemies reachin ur space suckin it to destroy it totally

cosmos is object and if it got any free superiority sense it is surely havin no connection with urs

what is true is first what is constant superior in same space while where realities are same spaces are infinite different constant freedom from else ones
 

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