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Describe and evaluate the idea that there is no such thing as a selfless act(TM)

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Describe and evaluate the idea that 'there is no such thing as a selfless act' The aim of this composition is to investigate and present supporting evidence surrounding the term of helping behaviour and to what extent this action of helping stems from an individuals wish to promote a genuine feeling of happiness to an other individual without wishing anything in return, or the help that is freely distributed, is done so, but at the moral or physique cost of the actor and thirdly, that perhaps no act is really 'selfless', as each and every person, whether it is consciously or subconsciously, provides help, wishing to be reimbursed at a later moment (Durkin, 1995). The umbrella term for this form of individual comportment is known as 'Pro-social Behaviour', which in turn is generally divided into two categories of 'Altruism' and 'Bystander Behaviour' (Campbell, 1998). The word 'altruism' finds its origins in 1851, when it was employed for the time by French philosopher Auguste Comte, which in literal terms signifies 'scarifying oneself for the benefit of another', within the term of altruism, there are numerous different models and influences that include, kin selection, reciprocal altruism, empathy-altruism hypothesis and the negative-state relief model, to cite just a few (www.altruists.org 1). The 'bystander effect' can be defined in one of two manners, either 'bystander intervention', were an individual decides to intervene, while the second is commonly called 'bystander apathy', were on this occasion the individual chooses not to offer their assistance (Cardwell and Flanagan, 2004). ...read more.


In many cases, a reciprocal altruist naturally has a tendency to offer their support to other altruists, therefore underlining the possibility of there being a genetic similarity, due to the mutual behavioural pattern that can be observed, and it is for this reason that Rothstein argues the interlink ability between reciprocal altruism and kin selection (Rothstein, 1980). Within the domain of altruism and the studies performed on the subject, it was in 1991 that Batson published 'The Altruism Question: Towards a social-psychological answer', and there after presented an empathy-based altruism. According to their findings, this empathy-altruism hypothesis, provided evidence that when an individual was in the position of witnessing another person in need, there was a penchant of imagining being in the same position, hence the feeling of empathy, and to relieve this empathic felling, help or assistance is often given (Hewstone and Stroebe, 2001). According to Batson's empathy-altruism hypothesis, he argued that when confronted with a person in some sort of need, the vision of this person produces a variety of emotional sensations, ranging from unhappiness to distress and equally produced an empathic concern, an example of which may well be the feeling of compassion. As a result, depending on the situation and the individual's personality, the reasons for offering help are not the same; in the case of distress the motivations are egoistic, whereas empathy creates an altruistic stimulus (Fletcher and Clark, 2001). ...read more.


their mood will be positively improved in doing as such, if this is not the case, help will be rarely promoted (Manucia et al, 1984). The aim of this composition, was to evaluate and analyse the existence of a 'selfless act', and whether this act stems from the individual donor's genuine desire to provide help that is solely beneficial to the receiver. Having examined the information collected and used for the elaboration of this essay, it would be true to say that in all honesty, there exist no such thing as a selfless act, because in reality, anything that is done, is done so because, either the donor is going to receive something in return or the donor feels pleasure in helping another. Each of the four models assessed throughout this manuscript as shown this idea, from the kin selection perspective, help is provided in order to maintain the transmission of family genetics, and when looking at the evidence offered by the reciprocal altruism perspective, this is very clear, that each support is given, but only if there is some sort of personal reward in return. The feeling of inner warmth and positive sentiment that are felt when seen from the empathy-altruism hypothesis and providing help in the aim to reduce personal distress, as seen in the negative-state relief model, are just a few examples that outline the personal gain that are obtained through this so called 'selfless act'. ...read more.

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