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Would it be better to substitute the term altruism with sacrificalism to better convey the true meaning to people ?

asked Dec 08 '10 at 03:36

Michael's gravatar image


edited Dec 08 '10 at 16:25

The requirements of both cognition and communication weigh against the coining of a neologism where a suitable word already exists. It would be a fool's errand to try to obviate popular misunderstandings of a concept by changing the word. Those misunderstandings do not arise from the word, but from the culture.

In defending egoism over altruism, we must dispel the popular misconception that one's self-interest and the interests of others are in a zero-sum opposition. No substitution of words will accomplish that.

answered Dec 08 '10 at 21:29

Andrew%20Dalton's gravatar image

Andrew Dalton ♦

The basic premise of this question apparently is that altruism isn't understood by most people in the same way that Objectivism understands it, and that altruism as generally understood isn't necessarily as harmful to man as Objectivism says it is. Objectivism, in contrast, points out that altruism (literally "other-ism") inherently is a form of self-sacrifice -- not necessarily the only possible form, but certainly the most dominant and insidious -- and that it is just as important to oppose altruism as it is to oppose all forms of self-sacrifice (as well as the sacrificing of others by sacrifice-enforcers). Such opposition is not well served by switching to invented terminology that diverts people's attention away from altruism as the main focus, altruism as actually understood (in contrast to egoism) and practiced.

For those who are interested in more background on the Objectivist view of altruism, refer to The Ayn Rand Lexicon under the topic, "Altruism."

answered Dec 09 '10 at 01:06

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦

Not all sacrifices are altruistic. It would be a logical mistake as well as social, etc., to make the substitution suggested. Beyond that, it is disingenous, and smacks of manipulation, if not brain-washing. It seems to be an attempt to forego convincing people that self-interest is good, and make it so that being other-regarding is, not on philosophical grounds, but by edict, morally wrong. Reminds one of Newspeak, no?

answered Dec 11 '10 at 15:26

Mindy%20Newton's gravatar image

Mindy Newton ♦

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Asked: Dec 08 '10 at 03:36

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Last updated: Dec 11 '10 at 15:26