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Unformatted text preview: es on the belief that human beings are essentially selfish, or egoistic. In my view, the speaker oversimplifies human nature, ignoring the important motivating force of altruism. On the one hand, I agree that most of our actions result in large part from selfinterest and from our survival instincts, such as fear. For example, our educational and vocational lives are to a great extent motivated by our interest in ensuring our own livelihood, safety, health, and so on. We might perpetuate bad personal relationships because we are insecure—or afraid—of what will happen to us if we change course. Even providing for our own children may to some extent be motivated by selfishness—satisfying a need for fulfillment or easing our fear that we will be alone in our old age. On the other hand, to assert that all of our actions are essentially motivated by selfinterest and fear is to overemphasize one aspect of human nature. Humans are also altruistic—that is, we act to benefit others, even though doing so may not be in our own interest. The speaker might claim that altruistic acts are just egoistic ones in disg...
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- Spring '09