Everything we do is for our own benefit
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18-03-2014, 04:55 PM
RE: Everything we do is for our own benefit
(16-03-2014 04:42 PM)Chas Wrote:  This might be interest to you.
regarding this article Chas presented

Quote:He hypothesized that if people were motivated to help others only out of self-interest, e.g., to relieve their own distress, they would help only when helping was the easiest way to accomplish this goal. If they could easily escape the situation and thereby escape whatever was causing them distress, they would do that instead. By contrast, if people were motivated to help out of a genuine concern for another in need, their ultimate goal would be to reduce the other's distress, which could only be accomplished by helping the person, whether or not other ways of reducing their own discomfort were available.
I like this hypothesis.
I think the test was flawed and so was the logic behind the conclusion.

My question is, why does a person help when they are alerted to a specific predicament?
e.g. walking past a begger in the street or seeing a hardluck story on the news of people visiting our country, being mugged and losing everything.
In such cases people give money to these hard luck cases, even though they know that there are children starving to death in some African country.

It seems to me, you invoke empathy in a person and they will pay you in order to buy off their empathy pains.

Otherwise these altruistic people would actively seek to help people. People they haven't met and haven't heard of, because they know that these people in need can be found.
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18-03-2014, 07:08 PM (This post was last modified: 18-03-2014 07:40 PM by sporehux.)
RE: Everything we do is for our own benefit
(18-03-2014 04:55 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Otherwise these altruistic people would actively seek to help people. People they haven't met and haven't heard of, because they know that these people in need can be found.

Charity, (I don't do it for tax reasons)

"The practice of charity means the voluntary giving of help to those in need. Charity is humanitarian act of temporal principle".

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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18-03-2014, 07:09 PM (This post was last modified: 18-03-2014 07:39 PM by sporehux.)
RE: Everything we do is for our own benefit
DUPE..

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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18-03-2014, 07:21 PM (This post was last modified: 18-03-2014 07:39 PM by sporehux.)
RE: Everything we do is for our own benefit
DUPE..

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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18-03-2014, 07:43 PM
RE: Everything we do is for our own benefit
(18-03-2014 04:55 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(16-03-2014 04:42 PM)Chas Wrote:  This might be interest to you.
regarding this article Chas presented

Quote:He hypothesized that if people were motivated to help others only out of self-interest, e.g., to relieve their own distress, they would help only when helping was the easiest way to accomplish this goal. If they could easily escape the situation and thereby escape whatever was causing them distress, they would do that instead. By contrast, if people were motivated to help out of a genuine concern for another in need, their ultimate goal would be to reduce the other's distress, which could only be accomplished by helping the person, whether or not other ways of reducing their own discomfort were available.
I like this hypothesis.
I think the test was flawed and so was the logic behind the conclusion.

My question is, why does a person help when they are alerted to a specific predicament?
e.g. walking past a begger in the street or seeing a hardluck story on the news of people visiting our country, being mugged and losing everything.
In such cases people give money to these hard luck cases, even though they know that there are children starving to death in some African country.

It seems to me, you invoke empathy in a person and they will pay you in order to buy off their empathy pains.

Otherwise these altruistic people would actively seek to help people. People they haven't met and haven't heard of, because they know that these people in need can be found.

It may be the case that sometimes charity is given to remove guilty feelings or ward off the empathy of another persons pain as you explained. It may also be the case that charity is given to feel the pride or acknowledgment from other people - there are many possible reasons.
However it is also possible to give charity based on principles mostly independent of emotion at the time i.e charity can be given for its own sake to help another. If there is some benefit to the charity given it may be secondary - not the prime motivating reason. (as explained many times in this thread earlier)

There is theoretical philosophical grounding for this view all the way from the ancient Greeks (eg Aristotle formulated this well) & Stoics to today AND personal experience.
I have given charity as part of what I consider to be a duty (a rational response to another persons need for example) without demanding acknowledgment, not for any guilty reasons or expectations of rewards or empathy i.e no immanent reward or punishment/benefit/pain-pleasure.
Whether one feels good about giving the charity later is secondary - sometimes this occurs, and sometimes not, it doesn't have to be the primary motive.

Sometimes self gain/benefit from charity is secondary but goes together with the primary action - eg if you rescue someone from drowning you can get wet. The prime intention was to rescue someone. Getting wet is secondary - not the primary intent. Likewise feeling good from giving charity can be secondary - just part of the process with the primary motive being helping another person for its own sake.
Of course sometimes primary & secondary motives can get confused or some narcissistic people may only care about their own benefit - but this cannot be generalized to all people.

A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence -
David Hume


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18-03-2014, 08:14 PM
RE: Everything we do is for our own benefit
(18-03-2014 07:43 PM)Baruch Wrote:  However it is also possible to give charity based on principles mostly independent of emotion at the time
I think this could be classified as conditioning.
You behave in a way because you have been conditioned to think that way, to hold those principles. You don't necessarily put much thought into it, you just do as you do because that is what you think is the way that things are to be done.
Certainly I think parants teach their kids to be good, to be helpful and charitable, TV and movies condition us this way too.
We are also taught/conditioned to believe that selfishness is a bad traight and selflessness is to be admired and praised.
Conditioning is a powerful thing, but I don't consider it to be rational. Rational in my mind means to have put much thought into things despite any prior conditioning.
If we are merely obeying our programming (conditioning) acting like robots (running on auto-pilot) then do our actions count as being altruistic?
Or is it merely that we haven't broken our shakles of conditioning and entered into a zone of free will?
(18-03-2014 07:43 PM)Baruch Wrote:  I have given charity as part of what I consider to be a duty
If we are acting out of duty then isn't this a selfish interest? We do something because we think we have to.
Like a policeman helping an old lady across the street.
"Oh you are such a fantastic young man to help me"
"Just doing my job maaaam, now you have a nice day"

(18-03-2014 07:43 PM)Baruch Wrote:  Of course sometimes primary & secondary motives can get confused or some narcissistic people may only care about their own benefit - but this cannot be generalized to all people.
I think it is very hard to understand all our underlying motives, very hard to find something that can 100% be called altruistic. This doesn't mean that altruism doesn't exist, it's just hard to isolate and to prove.
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19-03-2014, 02:37 AM
RE: Everything we do is for our own benefit
(18-03-2014 08:14 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(18-03-2014 07:43 PM)Baruch Wrote:  However it is also possible to give charity based on principles mostly independent of emotion at the time
I think this could be classified as conditioning....
You behave in a way because you have been conditioned to think that way, to hold those principles.

I didnt say action based on conditioning but principles. Of course there is a difference and I am fully aware of that. Whats so difficult to understand ? Someone gives a well thought out, rational reason to do something and take action based on this principle. NOT conditioning. I carefully put "mostly" independent of emotion because cognition and emotion work together as per framework of Antonio Demasio & other cognitive science research shows - however this doesnt mean in order to give charity it must be a false dichotomy of either conditioning or basking in a sea of guilt, pride and empathy.

Quote:
Quote:I have given charity as part of what I consider to be a duty

If we are acting out of duty then isn't this a selfish interest? We do something because we think we have to.
Like a policeman helping an old lady across the street.
"Oh you are such a fantastic young man to help me"
"Just doing my job maaaam, now you have a nice day"

NO !

Quote:
Quote:sometimes primary & secondary motives can get confused or some narcissistic people may only care about their own benefit - but this cannot be generalized to all people.

I think it is very hard to understand all our underlying motives, very hard to find something that can 100% be called altruistic. This doesn't mean that altruism doesn't exist, it's just hard to isolate and to prove.


I never claimed 100% altuism is behind every action - its a red herring to even consider that was my claim.
...and yes it is hard to understand underlying motives but not necessarily impossible or always hidden.

A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence -
David Hume


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19-03-2014, 03:36 AM
RE: Everything we do is for our own benefit
(19-03-2014 02:37 AM)Baruch Wrote:  I didnt say action based on conditioning but principles. Of course there is a difference and I am fully aware of that. Whats so difficult to understand ? Someone gives a well thought out, rational reason to do something and take action based on this principle. NOT conditioning.
I don't understand what the difference would be between conditioning and principle. If there is more to this principle e.g. rational reasoning then I'd be keen to hear what it is. What is the rational reason behind altruism?

To merely cite "principle" as the reason, it doesn't make this clear to me, thus i assumed principle = conditioning.

Sorry, didn't mean to offend you.

(19-03-2014 02:37 AM)Baruch Wrote:  I carefully put "mostly" independent of emotion because cognition and emotion work together as per framework of Antonio Demasio & other cognitive science research shows - however this doesnt mean in order to give charity it must be a false dichotomy of either conditioning or basking in a sea of guilt, pride and empathy.
Fine, If it's not any of those then I'd be keen to know what the driver to action is.

(19-03-2014 02:37 AM)Baruch Wrote:  
Quote:If we are acting out of duty then isn't this a selfish interest? We do something because we think we have to.
Like a policeman helping an old lady across the street.
"Oh you are such a fantastic young man to help me"
"Just doing my job maaaam, now you have a nice day"

NO !
OK, I don't know what you mean by "Duty".
Moral duty?

(19-03-2014 02:37 AM)Baruch Wrote:  
Quote:I think it is very hard to understand all our underlying motives, very hard to find something that can 100% be called altruistic. This doesn't mean that altruism doesn't exist, it's just hard to isolate and to prove.


I never claimed 100% altuism is behind every action - its a red herring to even consider that was my claim.
I never said that was your claim, I don't know why you think I said that was your claim.
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19-03-2014, 11:20 AM
RE: Everything we do is for our own benefit
I don't think everything we do is for our own happieness, but for the benifit of our social group. When the group is well we are well. It used to be a bigger deal when we existed in small clans working just to survive. Now it is just part of what makes us human. We still have that drive to make sure our clan is well. What makes up our clan now is not the family group that we hunt, gather and live with for protection, but our family and friends we interact with. Just my opinion.
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19-03-2014, 03:22 PM
RE: Everything we do is for our own benefit
Quote:
Quote:Baruch wrote:
I didnt say action based on conditioning but principles. Of course there is a difference and I am fully aware of that. Whats so difficult to understand ? Someone gives a well thought out, rational reason to do something and take action based on this principle. NOT conditioning.
I don't understand what the difference would be between conditioning and principle. If there is more to this principle e.g. rational reasoning then I'd be keen to hear what it is. What is the rational reason behind altruism?

One form of conditioning is thoughtless automatic habitual activity eg when you drive a car and don't need to activelly concentrate on changing the gears.
Another form of conditioning would be "classical conditioning" in the pavlovian sense (technically known as respondent conditioning) were there is an automatic physiological response to a stimulus eg showing someone lemons and they salivate.
Living by a set of principles is in line with some rational ideals or philosophy - this could be flexible, doesn't have to be dissociated logic but some sort of deliberation or reasons for action.

Quote:
(19-03-2014 02:37 AM)Baruch Wrote:  I carefully put "mostly" independent of emotion because cognition and emotion work together as per framework of Antonio Demasio & other cognitive science research shows - however this doesnt mean in order to give charity it must be a false dichotomy of either conditioning or basking in a sea of guilt, pride and empathy.

Fine, If it's not any of those then I'd be keen to know what the driver to action is.

Rational or reasoned thought process or judgments. Not automatic and not constrained by only emotional whim. i.e not a dichotomy of either thoughtless automaton or emotional whimsical response. I can feel an emotion, but respond rationally - eg I might feel empathy but can decide to not react thoughtlessly to the empathy.

A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence -
David Hume


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