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Altruism is the conscious devotion to helping others regardless of whether the motivation is self-interested or other centered. It is a premeditated pursuit of charity to unify and increase the overall welfare of society. Although there is some dispute among moral philosophers as to the merits of the doctrine, altruism is generally viewed as the opposite of “egoism.” Altruism was first employed as a term or concept by the French positivist philosopher Auguste Comte in 1831. Derived from the French root, autrui, meaning “other people,” Comte favored an ethical perspective that individuals need to attend to the interests of others as a way of achieving universal happiness. The specific definition and focus of altruism varies significantly across different disciplines. Despite its ethical roots, more modern ...

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