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Selfless consideration for the welfare of others without regard to reward or recognition. In theories of conduct, the term is an antonym of egotism. Altruism is a social behavior and value orientation that is central to many religious traditions and schools of thought.

The term altruism can first be traced to Auguste Comte, a French mathematician and philosopher who wrote during the early 1800s and who coined the French word “altruisme” to describe the ethical doctrine he supported. A few years later, it entered the English language as altruism. It is frequently used in a physiological sense, but many different perspectives exist; theories of altruism are no longer the province of philosophical and ethical thought but have become a focus of discussion among biologists, ethnologists, psychologists, ...

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