Blog #1 Altruistic Suicide

I personally don’t believe in altruism. To say that people commit suicide due to altruism is strange to me.  By committing suicide for a cause, they are trying to gain attention by others and are trying to prove a point/gain benefits. I feel that even though they are dying, which is a loss, they are getting attention and achieving their goal it isn’t truly altruistic due to the fact that they die knowing that they sparked awareness. For example, the monk setting himself on fire, his actions gain him immortality, as we will continue to remember what he has done.

 After doing some research I came across a few sites referring to suicide bombing as altruistic suicide.  Durkheim views altruistic suicide as a result of too much integration. I do agree that these people are too integrated in their social group to even consider suicide motivated by religion, but what benefit exactly does suicide bombing bring to the group? From past experience this just invites conflict to the group, which isn’t much of a gain; I suppose this is why suicide bombers are considered to be committing altruistic suicide. In my opinion they commit these acts to get in better with their God and this is their ultimate gain, they lose their lives but willingly do so because they will be “taken care of” by God. This is why I feel that altruism doesn’t really exist, there is something to be gained from every action.

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One response to “Blog #1 Altruistic Suicide

  1. Thoughtful, well-argued post, M. It helpfully illustrates he role of *assumptions*, “a priori” understandings, in the construction of theory. One thing your argument leaves out is *implicit assumptions*. You assume all action is driven by self-interest, stating you don’t “believe in altruism,” and you re-interpret Durkheim’s observations and other phenomena through that lens. Obviously, Durkheim begins with the assumption that people are innately *social* beings, that “society” exists in all of us, and that our actions are therefore “socially-oriented”. Good work, but next time try to be explicit about where your disagreement with the theory/theorist lay, whether at the “moral” level (e.g., assumptions and understandings of human nature, which are moral issues) or at the “theoretical,” conceptual level.

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