Altruism refers to actions undertaken for the concern and benefit of others at ones own expense.
“an “altruist” is someone who chooses between actions according to the criterion of others’ welfare”—Eliezer Yudkowsky
Related tags and wikis: Shut up and multiply, Fuzzies, World Optimization, Effective Altruism, Cause Prioritization, Motivations, Psychology of Altruism, Ethics and Morality
I added Eliezer’s definition of “altruist” to the page, which contradicts the current definition, which I think is wrong and should be removed. Thoughts?
I do not see the contradiction. Could you elaborate?
Cause “according to the criterion of others’ welfare” doesn’t require “at ones own expense”.
Sure, but it does not preclude it. Moreover, if the costs of the actions are not borne by the altruist (e.g. by defrauding customers, or extortion), I would not consider it altruism.
In this sense, altruism is a categorization tag placed on actions.
I do see how you might add a second, deontological definition (‘a belief system held by altruists’), but I wouldn’t. From the post, “Humane” or “Inner Goodness” seem more apt in exploring these ideas.
I very much dislike the second sentence in this tag: “If you do something to feel good about helping people, or even to be a better person in some spiritual sense, it isn’t truly altruism.”
First of all, it’s cryptonormative. Second, it leads to the old “people only care about their happiness” model that explains everything. Third (but this is a weak & contextualizing point), it is related to the common perception that egoistic actions are usually bad.
I have replaced the second sentence with “However, non-altruistically motivated actions can still be good (e.g. people pursuing non-rival goods), and altruistically motivated actions can still be bad (e.g. people being mistaken about what is good).”, and added that altruism is a motivation rather than a set of actions, but this is rather preliminary. I would be equally fine with the second sentence being deleted altogether.
I have removed the good/bad duality entirely, as I found it confusing.