Does Altruism Exist in Humans?

Altruism could be defined in one or more definitions. It could also be explained from general knowledge. On the other hand most people would not know exactly the term means. Personally, I have never heard of this word. If humans can be altruistic, which is an adjective that describes someone and their characteristics or personality, is a controversial issue. Not only can it be controversial, could you explain it to a friend? Before going into further research and after reading the text from the textbook, the follow is what I would tell a friend: To just say that altruism is the random act of kindness that is done every day without knowing is so easy. To take it a step further, I believe that altruism is a human behavior and deals with social interaction (1). It also depends on the situation if a person is fully altruistic or if it happens from time to time. They are some scientists, psychologist, and people of every faith that believes that we are altruistic or just being normal people. However, it is very easy to call any one person altruistic. Are they any motives that allow someone to volunteer their time to help someone out if they are about to go into debt? Are there any motives that will allow someone to save people from a burning people? Not everyone is selfish and then there are some who are will not share an item with another person. I would also tell my friend that being an altruistic person could be done through a reciprocal process. What this means is that we could treat everyone the same and expect them to treat us the same way. However that could be possibly done without anyone trying to boost their ego or just be really cold hearted (1).

Since one can’t really prove how true altruism is in a person, it may not exist since people are able to willingly quickly react in a selfless manner. It is a person’s moral sense to not being altruistic because there are no motivations to be altruistic to allow them to be engaged in a selfless act (2). A stable reason why altruism does not exist is the fact that everyone treats each other the same way. When this happen those kind people will get a different reaction from the receivers. No matter what happens those who give are never going to get the correct response back. They must purposely have a choice to act altruistic. In actuality, they care for those who are suffering rather than those who may need a lending hand with an every day ordeal (3). Since it is the human instinct to help others for good, ethical reasons to do so, altruism no longer exists as value to humans as an act of selflessness. One important understanding that every nonbeliever may think may say that people may be altruistic because if the fact that there is no motive that allows people to be kind or go beyond their own means to help their fellow citizen. Everyone is helping others out because they find pleasure in helping people making it through a situation. Therefore, there is no actual reason for altruism to exist. Why would it is exist when everyone is doing the same thing? They are most likely to exercise their personal interest to benefit their own selves rather than others. This allows them to feel good. Altruism is something you can not practice. You are not expected to put on a performance when someone needs your help. You have to use your conscious rather than motivation (4).

Although most scholars may conclude that altruism does not exist in humans, however, it does without direct thinking or from someone else. Altruism does exist because of a person’s religious teachings, genetics, or the way parents raise their children. Altruism exists when someone does a favor for a neighbor or a very helpless person in need of help and they do not expect anything to be given back to them as appreciation. Sometimes it may also deal with the psychology of humanistic behavior and a person recognizing either sympathy or empathy (5). Furthermore, when a person gives to charity or volunteer their time, they are able to return the favor back to others. This is proof that altruism does exist. It could not be in a good way that someone reacts when people are going beyond their strength, but it does exist. Altruism is a disadvantage of your own interest for another’s welfare. Being altruistic brings the positive out of everyone (2).

Personally, I think that true altruism exists in humans. I take this position because there may not be on exact definition that defines an altruistic person. To not have an open mind about this subject, I would be contradicting myself. I think that wouldn’t be possible without saying one thing and going against what I have said. In this country and all over the world, they are altruistic people some where out there whether in a big city or in a rural location. I want to say that altruism could be seen as another positive psychology, but you can’t be completely positive with altruism when it comes from a negative direction. To say altruism in humans does not exist would be saying that there are not any good people that are amongst us. We would be taken as a negative society. Additionally with my thoughts and ideas, they are pros and cons to altruism (with all sorts of information) on whether people are doing random acts of kindness or truly being motivated to take action when the time calls for someone’s help.


  1. King, Laura A.


  • Hi,

    I agree with you on that altruism does exist in humans.Its presence may be due to society we are living in and the dependent nature that it has adopted.Very weel writtem and expressive article..I have written the next phase to this article on my blog it titles "Heaven and Hell:Altruism and Egoism"

    May be you will find it interseting,

  • Great question. Altruism is the selfless concern for others, and even if the giver does not expect reciprocity but is doing it for the good feeling they get, it is no longer a selfless deed. However, I do think true altruism exists and I have an example:

    My little brother is going to die. I have choice of letting him die and inheriting his possessions, or I can sacrifice myself to save him. Let’s assume if I let him die no one will know that I could have saved him so no one will judge me about it. As an atheist, I do not believe in an afterlife and have no desire to die because I cease to exist at that point. Which also means I don’t care about what people think of me once I’m dead. The only time it would be in my self interest to die is if it ended unbearable suffering I was experiencing, which would not be true in this scenario. The only selfish aspect of sacrificing myself would be avoiding remorse I would experience if I let him die. Everything else being equal, I would rather live with that remorse than die. So we have countless major reasons why it would be in my self interest to save myself, and only one smaller reason why it would be in my self interest to save my brother. And yet I would sacrifice myself to save him. In this case the trade would not be in my favor. I attribute the reason why I would save him to altruism.