Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Types of Altruism

 ... influence dating and friendships

Most people prefer to connect with someone who will favor them over distant strangers (deontologist).  This is logical since the point of family is to make life easier together than alone.  If someone prefers to help distant strangers over close friends and family (consequentialist), they're not much of an improvement to your survival strategy.

They differ again in the "trolley problem" where a person is asked to choose between killing one person or several.  Generally the consequentialist will choose to divert and kill one person for the sake of saving several, whereas the deontologist will prefer to keep their hands clean by doing nothing and allowing more to die.  But those are random strangers.  If you're tied to the tracks, you better pray that the person making that choice is a deontologist who knows you, and will choose you over strangers. 

As an interesting corollary: How many people would have to be on the other track for you to kill someone you loved in order to save them?  100?  1,000,000?  The whole world?  Or would you let it all burn to save one person?  (I have freaked out philosophy professors just by saying, "What if Krypton was declining, but didn't actually explode until the lifeboat launched?")

While the trolley problem is artificial nonsense, the type of dilemma is very real.  How do we allocate survival resources, and why?  In this regard, deontology has an evolutionary advantage by perpetuating closely related genes that support it.

Tags: family skills, networking, romance, safety
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