Re: virus: Altruism, Empathy, the Superorganism, and the Priso ner'sDillema

Martz (
Tue, 22 Apr 1997 00:55:27 +0100

On Mon, 21 Apr 1997, "Wright, James 7929" <> wrote:
>Very well then, shall we attempt accuracy? I propose:
>An act can be considered altruistic when:
>1) An act occurs;

Inherently. ;)

>2) The consequences or benefits of that act do not confer any advantage
>to the actor, their heirs, assigns or acquaintances;

Bzzzzt! Sorry, it's got little to do with any *real* advantage anymore.
There only has to be a perceived advantage on the part of the actor.
This may be conscious or not.

>3) The actor does not claim any ownership of the act, beyond simple
>knowledge that an act has occurred;

Irrelevant. *He* knows it happened. The left hand mustn't know what the
right one is doing. I think that was Jesus' take on it and I think what
he was trying to say was that true charity is an impossible act (howzat
for an appeal to authority?).

>4) The consequences or benefits of that act do not confer any
>disadvantage to any other party.

Again, I think it has more to do with the actors perception. If she
thinks she's acting for the good of the other person is her act any less
altruistic if it goes horribly wrong?


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