Segments in this Video

Introduction: Self and the Selfless (01:08)


Presenter Vassili Christodoulou introduces the panel of social scientists. They will discuss topics related to altruism.

The Pitch: Oliver Curry (02:50)

Anthropologist Curry says altruism does exist because people interact socially. Curry explains the selfish gene view, which means genes are self-prompting but not selfish

The Pitch: Linda Woodhead (03:30)

Sociologist Woodhead explains the different ways of defining altruism. She says love, selflessness, and self-sacrifice are parts of altruism.

The Pitch: John Bird (03:46)

Homelessness advocate Bird talks about the applications of altruism. He explains the notice of giving to the poor that is part of every religion and the dependency of society.

Theme One: Is Altruism No More Than an Evolved Behavior? (09:47)

The panel discusses why altruism is viewed so positively. Curry says it is a biological element of humanity. Woodhead says there are social contexts that determine if a person will act altruistically.

Theme Two: Are We Wholly Governed by Self-Interest? (10:28)

The panel discusses if altruism can only be achieved by going against self-interest. Woodhead talks about the complex range of behavior, which includes enlightened self-interest.

Theme Three: Is Altruism Dangerous? (04:55)

Bird says defining altruism and understanding it is self-interest used to make someone feel better about themselves. The panel agrees that most people believe they are acting altruistically and that it can be dangerous.

Credits: Self and the Selfless (00:19)

Credits: Self and the Selfless

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From personal acts of kindness to charitable gifts to strangers, altruism is seen as a high point of moral virtue. Yet studies suggest altruism is driven by self-interest and personal satisfaction. Does true altruism exist? Is altruism an evolved behavior shared with animals, or can it be pure and transcendental? The Panel Big Issue founder John Bird, cognitive and evolutionary anthropologist Oliver Curry, and sociologist and author of The Spiritual Revolution Linda Woodhead question kindness and ask "what is altruism?"

Length: 38 minutes

Item#: BVL145296

ISBN: 978-1-64198-821-6

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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