Instigator / Pro
Points: 4

People only do good things for selfish reasons.

Finished

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After 1 vote the winner is ...
King_8
Debate details
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Category
Philosophy
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
Two months
Point system
Four points
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Rated
Characters per argument
30,000
Contender / Con
Points: 7
Description
No information
Round 1
Published:
No one does anything purely because it is good or "the right thing to do. " They are all done for purely selfish reasons. A lifeguard saving someone from drowning does not save them because it is good, they are only doing it because it is their job, because they want to look good to others, and/or they do not want the person's death on their conscience. If a Christian founds a charity, he does not do it just because it is good to do that; he founds the charity because he believes that is what God would want him to do, thereby further ensuring his passage into heaven after his death. If a man saves a child from a burning building, but tells no one about it, It is still a selfish act as he is doing it to keep the child's death off of his conscience. Now, I am not saying that it is bad that these people do these things, as the effect is desirable. However, I am arguing that their purpose is entirely selfish.
Published:
Rebuttals

No one does anything purely because it is good or the right thing to do.
Someone apologizes to someone else for doing something wrong. Explain this scenario. Why else would the person apologize? 

Lifeguard point

A lifeguard saving someone does make it good because they wouldn't want someone's death on their conscience. They are saving people because it is both their job and because it's good. If a lifeguard saves someone only because it's their job, in other words if they were off the clock and not on lifeguard duty, and they see a person drowning and decide not to save them, well that's pretty messed up and heartless. I would hope not all lifeguards are like that. What about the case for someone who isn't a lifeguard but knows how to swim, and they save a person from drowning? 

By your logic: Firefighters do not save people from burning buildings because it is good, they are only doing it because it is their job. Similar to lifeguards, is that true as well? 

If a man saves a child from a burning building, but tells no one about it, it is still a selfish act as he is doing it to keep the child's death off of his conscience. 
The 'child's death' part confused me because you said the man saved the child. Could you explain? If that man doesn't tell anyone about it, I would see it as a humble act, not a selfish act. By saving someone's life, people see that as a great thing, So he would rather not receive all that attention and be known and praised as a hero. He would be proud of himself and keep it to himself. The average person would most likely tell everyone that they saved someone from a burning building. 

My Argument 

Everyone's different

You can't put everyone in the same box. There are people, such as myself who would rather give than receive. Although it's nice to receive, I, nor some other people don't expect anything in return. I know many people like this. When I do something for my friends or family, I do it out of the kindness of my heart, not to get something right back. I'm not the type to say "Well I did this for you so you need to do this." It's good to give to others but you have to make sure you are good yourself. If you give too much into others and forget about yourself, that's not good. Because at the end of the day, you come first. Again, when I say "you come first" that does not correlate to selfishness. 

Definitions

Selfish - lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure. 
Selfless - concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one's own; unselfish. 

Selfish vs Selfless

I take it that you think being selfless is wrong, correct? If I'm off, please let me know. I see selfish is bad and selfless as good, but we may be on the same page. Anyhow, it's good to give to others, and you deserve gratification from it. Gratification can simply be just feeling good afterwards, or a simple "Thank you". If one does a selfless act and feels gratification from it, how does that make them selfish? Are you familiar with the saying "What goes around comes around. " When you do good to people, good things happen to you. When you do bad things to people, bad things happen to you. 

What about parents?

It's a parent's job to take care of their children, they are supposed to be selfless. By raising a child correctly and teaching them respect, that's gratification enough to the parent. Back to the 'selfish' aspect, the parent shouldn't expect anything from the child as far as exchange. Does this make parents selfish? If your argument has nothing to do with this and if parents don't count, then dismiss this point. 

Good or bad?

Your stance is basically: "No matter what you do for others, there is something you are getting out of it." correct? 
Is that a bad thing? I understand that you say this isn't a bad thing, and it's a good thing that people do good things for others, but to use the word "selfish" doesn't work. It's not a good thing to be selfish. If someone does good for someone else, what if the person deserves it in return? For example, Jane does something good for Bill. Time passes. Bill decides to do something good for Jane back, since she has done something good for him and she deserves it. Jane never asked Bill for anything though because being the type of person Jane is, she doesn't expect anything in return. 

Await a response. 

Round 2
Published:
It is still selfish if they do it to keep if off the conscience. They are not a bad person for this because it's a completely natural desire to not feel guilty, but it is still technically selfish as they are thinking of them self.

About the man saving the child: they save the child to keep their death off their conscience. If they did not care about the child's death being on their conscience, that would mean they don't care about the child's death. Therefore, they would not save the child. My point is all of this goes back to the selfish and natural desire to not feel guilty about someone's death. If they did not care, they wouldn't save the child, simple as that.

Everyone's different: But why do you do the kind thing? Think about it. What is your purpose? I'm not saying I don't understand why; I understand completely. There are multiple reasons why you might have done a kind thing for your friends and family even if you don't expect to get something back:
One reason is: You enjoy seeing them happy: You gave something or did something for them because you like to see them happy. Though this sounds like a selfless act, it can't be. You enjoy seeing them happy. Though you may not realize it, you are doing this for yourself because you enjoy seeing them happy. After all, if you didn't like seeing them happy, you wouldn't do it.

Selfish vs Selfless: No, I do not see being selfish as good or being selfless as bad. I just see selfishness as natural and selflessness as unrealistic. With gratification, the person is doing the act to feel the gratification of it, therefore making them concerned for themselves. As for "what goes around comes around", a person may do a "selfless" act purely because they feel karma will reward them, making them selfish.

Parents: A parent raises their child well, and they feel good about it. They can say "I'm a good parent. " If they're having a bad day, thinking "What have I done that's important? ", they can remember that they raised a child well, and they can believe they did something good. Now, This does not make the parent a bad person whatsoever. This just makes the parent human.

Good or bad? : No, it is not a bad thing. It is only the natural thing. It is impossible to do anything good without thinking of yourself. That's just life, it's natural, And I won't criticize it. Jane may have done something good, but it still benefits her. She feels the gratification of her good deed. She doesn't ask for anything back because she believes that will make her look selfish and that it will take away from her good deed, which means it will take away from her gratification.

My argument: Good deeds give people an excuse. When someone does something good, they may then think that they should reward themselves. After all, they did something good. If someone says they're a bad person or selfish, they can say "Well I did this, so you're wrong." And when they think that their life has been a waste, they can remember the good thing they did.

Note: Some people seem to think that I'm some sort of amoral person, believing that good isn't real and all people are bad and that I'm only projecting myself on others. This isn't true. People are not inherently bad. To be selfish is to be human, and I can't criticize that. I just accept that in life people are concerned with themselves, and that's just a fact.

Published:
But it is still technically selfish as they are thinking of them self.
I assume your first point is in response to my apology example. 

Let's analyze the definition of selfish: lacking consideration for others, concerned with one's own pleasure. 

When someone apologizes (for the most part), not only are they thinking of their self and what they have done in order to apologize, but they are thinking of the other person which means they have consideration for them to apologize. Selfish wouldn't be the right word for this situation, it would be more like self awareness or self evaluation. 

Man saving the child | Analyzing definition
The word 'selfish' in this situation doesn't work either because the man has consideration for the child he is saving. It's called being a human being and not wanting another human to die. As you said, 'natural desire' which I agree with 100%, but selfish? No. A truly selfish individual wouldn't risk their lives to save a child from a burning building because then, their life would be at risk because in their head they are concerned with themselves only -- which perfectly describes what you said "If they did not care about the child's death being on their conscience, that would mean they don't care about the child's death. Therefore, they would not save the child." What I took from that statement is 1. You think the man not wanting saving the child is not selfish. 2. That you think that's right. But realistically, I know you think that isn't right at all. I also understand that you aren't arguing on the premise of "good or bad" but the way you are formulating your arguments, it seems as though you are saying it's bad. 

After all, if you didn't like seeing them happy, you wouldn't do it.
That would equate to being selfish. It has something to do with worrying about one's own self instead of others. 

With gratification, the person is doing the act to feel the gratification of it, therefore making them concerned for themselves. 
That's a reach. Again, let's analyze the definition. A person is not selfish if they even do something for someone else in the first place, because they lack consideration for others. Keep in mind, selfish people usually expect a large scale of things in return. What about the case for a person that does something for someone else and the person says "No need to thank me."?

It's possible to do good for others and/or perhaps be selfless, while at the same time, receive something back and not be selfish. In other words, just because a daughter buys her mother a new house after all the years she took care of her, that does not make the mother selfish. 

I just accept that in life people are concerned with themselves.
Did you not accept it at one point? If it's natural, then you wouldn't have had to come to a point of acceptance. 

You say "I just see selfishness as natural" and that it's "human". I think you have a misconception. 

I'll establish one example of a difference between selfish vs self interest (ones self). Yes, you should worry about yourself, but that does not necessarily mean you are selfish. 

I found a source that states this:

"Self interest - a concern for one's own happiness and well-being."

"Selfishness is different than self-interest. Selfish people tend to be exclusively concerned about only themselves. They don’t care about anyone else and have no regard for other people. Selfish individuals may act in a manner that’s detrimental to others. Having a healthy self-interest doesn’t preclude caring about others. Actually, a strong self-interest is a core component of those who are most concerned about other’s welfare. If you don’t care about yourself, how can you care about others?"





Round 3
Published:
Is there really a difference between self-interest and selfishness if the only reason why a person does something is for their self-interest? The only reason people do nice things is because they want to and/or they like to. If someone doesn't want/like to do nice things, they won't do it.

I forgot to respond to your apology example: A person apologizes for a few reasons:
1. They don't want to feel bad
2. They don't want it to be on their mind
3. They don't want the other person to be mad at them
Notice that all these reasons are based in something the person apologizing wants. In reality it doesn't have anything to do with what the other person wants unless the person apologizing wants the same thing.

"Selfish people usually expect a large scale things in return."
Where does it say that? The definition of selfish is "(of a person, Action, Or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure. " It does not say they expect something back. Being selfish just means that they are exclusively interested in they want.

"What about the case for a person that does something for someone else and the person says 'No need to thank me. '? "
They are still acting in their own interest. A person who says "No need to thank me" may be seen as humble, which is a desirable trait. Also, a person who says "no need to thank me" is more likely to receive something in return than a person that says "I expect a reward. "

The mother isn't selfish because they received something back. The mother is inherently selfish, as all people are.

"Did you not accept it at one point? If it's natural, then you wouldn't have had to come to a point of acceptance."
First of all, where did I say I didn't accept it at one point? You're reaching there. Second of all, even if I didn't accept it at first, how does that mean it's not true? Is it not possible to be wrong about something at first?

"I'll establish one example of a difference between selfish vs self interest (ones self)."
Where did you do this? I don't see any example, all I see are definitions and explanations of the definition.

"Selfishness is different than self-interest."
Going by definition, yes, but like I said before, their paths can cross.

"Selfish people tend to be exclusively concerned about only themselves. They don't care about anyone else and have no regard for other people."
Sure, unless doing something good for other people benefits them. Also, what you seem to not understand is that their benefit or reward may not be obvious. Their reward may just be feeling good about themselves, or getting someone to like them, or gaining a better reputation. It can be something very small.

"Selfish individuals may act in a manner that's detrimental to others."
Yes, but they may also act in a manner that's beneficial to others as well. The point is they would do what is best for themselves or what they want. People sometimes do things to hurt other people, and sometimes they do things to help other people. Either way, their reasoning is based in selfishness/self-interest.

Another thing to understand about my point is that people don't even understand their own reasoning. While they think they care about others, they are, in actuality, only caring about themselves. What they think they're doing when they care about others is really just them benefiting themselves.


Published:
Yes there's a distinct different between self-interest and selfishness. Self interest is your well-being and happiness, and selfishness is lacking care for others and only caring about yourself. 

Most of everything a person does for their self is because of self interest. 

The only reason people do nice things is because they want to and/or they like to.
What's wrong with that? How does that make them selfish?

If someone doesn't want/like to do nice things, they won't do it.
And that's their choice, everyone is different. 

A person apologizing

So are you basically saying people who apologize aren't genuine? There are people who genuinely apologize and there are others that have fake apologies. 

When I said "selfish people usually expect a large scale things in return." that's an understatement. Everyone knows this. When you think of a selfish person, that's what they want. This goes with the definition. Because they are exclusively interested in what they want, they expect something in return since it's for them. 

A person who says "no need to thank me" is more likely to receive something in return
But that doesn't mean they would want something in return. 

The mother isn't selfish because they received something back. The mother is inherently selfish, as all people are.
So it's "she isn't selfish" and then it's she's "inherently selfish" which one is it? In any case, that does not make her selfish at all. The mother did not expect the daughter to do buy her a new home and the mother did not ask for it either. By your logic and how your arguments are structured, she is selfish regardless. 

"People only do good things for selfish reasons."
1. Mother takes care of daughter, as she should. [does good thing for selfish reason. Mother expects daughter to do something for her in return]
2. Daughter buys mother a house once she gets older. [this means the mother is now selfish since the daughter did something in return for her]

First of all, where did I say I didn't accept it at one point? 
I'll assess your statement, "I just accept that in life people are concerned with themselves" 
1. It seems as though you didn't believe or accept it at first, but your mind was changed. 
2. You say that as if it is a bad thing that you have to accept people being concerned with themselves. 
3. If you always believed that, then why use the word accept? That's like someone saying "I just have to accept the fact that humans breathe oxygen" as if that person once thought it was false at one time. I just answered the rest of your questions with these explanations. 

Accept/Acceptance - a person's assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition without attempting to change it or protest it. 

But if I am wrong or if I took what you said completely left field, then explain and let me know. That's just what I took from what you said. 

Where did you do this? I don't see any example, all I see are definitions and explanations of the definition.
I meant that example definition from my source, but I will use a real example: Self-interest is essential for your happiness and well being. It enables you to provide food and shelter for you and your family. Self-interest is necessary for your economic and career success. That is quoted from the same source from R2. 

Sure, unless doing something good for other people benefits them.
And what exactly is wrong with that? Doing something good for someone else should benefit you. You do good for others and something good is dealt back to you even if it's something as feeling good afterwards. I know your premise isn't good or bad and that it's just human but again, the way you structure everything, you say it like it's bad. I understand it can be something small and not obvious but in this specific situation, this does not make someone selfish. It's just a nice person or a person that does a good humanly act. 

Another thing to understand about my point is that people don't even understand their own reasoning. While they think they care about others, they are, in actuality, only caring about themselves. What they think they're doing when they care about others is really just them benefiting themselves.
Not a fair thing to say. You are basically saying everyone isn't genuine. Again, everyone is different. There are people who care about others. If a person drives by a homeless person on the street begging for money and that person gives that homeless person their hard earned money, does that really constitute them not caring about the homeless person but only carrying about themselves? Keep in mind, this is their hard earned money. 

What about doctors? Are they not genuine? Some of them genuinely love their jobs and they care for human life. Not all doctors are doing it only for the money. Keyword, I said only. That isn't selfishness. Because everyone needs to find a way to take care of themselves and to make a living. This ties into self-interest. Some doctors or nurses love their jobs, but of course the money is a plus and it is a must. 

There is a cause and effect for everything. You are using the word selfish in way too many situations where different words belong in.

Round 4
Published:
"Most of everything a person does for their self is because of self interest."
But what if the thing they do for their self is something they do for someone else?

"And that's their choice, everyone is different."
I feel like you still don't understand my point. The reason why people do things for other people is because they want to. Their only reason is that they want to, though they may not realize this. If someone doesn't want to, they won't do it, which proves my point.

"They expect something in return since it's for them."
Yes, but they might not expect something in return from the other person. Maybe the thing they expect is to feel good about what they've done, or they expect not to feel guilty.

As for the "accept" point, what I am saying is that some people don't accept this fact, but I do.

"And what exactly is wrong with that?"
I have stated, multiple times, that there isn't anything wrong with that. My argument is not "people do good things for selfish reasons and that's bad. " I'm just debating the fact.

"Does that really constitute them not caring about the homeless person but only carrying about themselves?"
Yes. They act in their own self-interest. They aren't bad for this, it's just who they are.

"What about doctors? Are they not genuine?"
People are genuine if they believe they are. But the underlying truth is that people do things for themselves only, even if those things benefit others and even if they don't know it.

People act in their own self-interest, and that's fine. It's just a fact of life. When people do things for others, they don't realize it, but they are doing it because it benefits them, not the other person.

Published:
But what if the thing they do for their self is something they do for someone else? 
Nothing wrong with that. 

I feel like you still don't understand my point. The reason why people do things for other people is because they want to. Their only reason is that they want to, though they may not realize this. If someone doesn't want to, they won't do it, which proves my point. 
There was no point proven. You've said something simple. Everyone knows that people do things for other people is because they want to. This does not make someone selfish. 

Yes, but they might not expect something in return from the other person. Maybe the thing they expect is to feel good about what they've done, or they expect not to feel guilty.
This is just cause and effect. Has nothing to do with selfishness, along with the two previous points. 

What I am saying is that some people don't accept this fact, but I do.
Just like people don't accept the earth being flat, but some unfortunately do. 

I have stated, multiple times, that there isn't anything wrong with that. My argument is not "people do good things for selfish reasons and that's bad." I'm just debating the fact. 
As I've said multiple times as well, I understand that you are saying it's nothing wrong with it and it's not bad but again, as I said a few times 1. The way your arguments are structured screams that it's bad. 2. This is a debate and we are on opposing sides, so I'm coming in with the mindset of you arguing your opinion and me arguing mine. Let's look at the simple fact that you are in fact saying it is human nature and it's nothing wrong at all that "People do good things for selfish reasons." alright, but the thing is, that statement is simply not true. First off, that statement alone contradicts itself and secondly, not every person on the planet applies to your 'selfish' argument/stance. 

I said: Does that really constitute them not caring about the homeless person but only carrying about themselves? 
You said: Yes. They act in their own self-interest. They aren't bad for this, it's just who they are. 
No, they do care about the homeless person. That's why they gave their money to them. I'd say they care more about the homeless person than themselves in this situation. I notice you said self-interest, so in this situation this means that they are not selfish, correct? If so, then we both agree on that. A selfish person wouldn't give their money to a homeless person since they are giving their money away to them. 

People are genuine if they believe they are. But the underlying truth is that people do things for themselves only, even if those things benefit others and even if they don't know it. 
Are you saying no one's truly genuine? Your arguments stem from motives and doubtfulness. If a person goes to work every day, that would be them doing things for themselves so you're right in that aspect. 

When people do things for others, they don't realize it, but they are doing it because it benefits them, not the other person.
Again, this goes back to what I said earlier. These do not apply to everyone and these do not mean selfishness. Another thing, in this situation it could benefit both. A person can be doing something to not only benefit themselves but other people as well. Some celebrities pay for their fan's student loans. The celebrity feels good afterwards and for the students, it's more benefiting for them.


Round 5
Published:
"Nothing wrong with that."
That means that they are selfish

"There was no point proven. You've said something simple. Everyone knows that people do things for other people is because they want to. This does not make someone selfish."
It does mean they are selfish because they are still getting something in return. 

"This is just cause and effect. Has nothing to do with selfishness, along with the two previous points."
I'm sorry but this is false. Where did cause and effect come from? That has nothing to do with this. 

"Just like people don't accept the earth being flat, but some unfortunately do."
So what you are still implying is that people who are inherently selfish is not true, when it is true. I have proved this time and time again and you seem to not understand. 

"People do good things for selfish reasons." alright, but the thing is, that statement is simply not true. First off, that statement alone contradicts itself and secondly, not every person on the planet applies to your 'selfish' argument/stance."
How does that statement contradict itself? Most people apply to my argument. 

"No, they do care about the homeless person. That's why they gave their money to them. I'd say they care more about the homeless person than themselves in this situation. I notice you said self-interest, so in this situation this means that they are not selfish, correct? If so, then we both agree on that. A selfish person wouldn't give their money to a homeless person since they are giving their money away to them."
No, this still means they are selfish because again, the reason they are giving their money away is to get something in return even if they don't know it. Like I said, it could be something small as feeling good. 

"Are you saying no one's truly genuine? Your arguments stem from motives and doubtfulness. If a person goes to work every day, that would be them doing things for themselves so you're right in that aspect."
No one is truly genuine because at one point they can be selfish in certain situations.

"Again, this goes back to what I said earlier. These do not apply to everyone and these do not mean selfishness. Another thing, in this situation it could benefit both. A person can be doing something to not only benefit themselves but other people as well. Some celebrities pay for their fan's student loans. The celebrity feels good afterwards and for the students, it's more benefiting for them."
That would then make the celebrities selfish.
Published:
That means that they are selfish.
No it doesn't.

It does mean they are selfish because they are still getting something in return. 
Please look at the definition of selfish. Someone receiving something in return does not make them selfish.

I'm sorry but this is false. Where did cause and effect come from? That has nothing to do with this. 
This is merely cause and effect, Again, look at the definition of selfish.

How does that statement contradict itself? Most people apply to my argument. 
As I said, it doesn't apply to everyone.

No, this still means they are selfish because again, the reason they are giving their money away is to get something in return even if they don't know it. Like I said, it could be something small as feeling good. 
A selfish individual wouldn't give away their money in the first place. 

That would then make the celebrities selfish.
No it doesn't when they are helping others. 

Thanks for the debate. 

Added:
everybody is banned here,LOL
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Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
This comes down to a semantic debate. I can tell that pro is using a definition of selfish that Ayn Rand would use. A definition that means (not altruistic) among other things. Pro argues that since everyone derives some benefit from seemingly unselfish things than it qualifies as selfish. I agree with his definition. If you give your kidney to a person needing one than it is usually out of a desire to help the person. The desire is the selfish motivation.
Con provides a definition that contradicts this view of selfishness that me and pro both have. His definition means that as long as an act is not with disregard to others it does not qualify as selfish. Pro never challenges this definition, leaving Con to win this semantics battle as even pro does not seem to disagree with the assertion that people can think with regard to others, even if they derive benefits from doing so, such as the pleasure of seeing a person get a new Kidney or to use an example from the debate, somebody saving a life when they will get no credit.