Earlier, in the Biological Altruism thread, you gave this wikipedia link as supposedly-acceptable or sufficient evidence that folks get to have their pick of several senses of, or definitions of, altruism. Because of its breadth, that would include taking altruism to be many things, including these:
1) a mere caring/concern (or just regard) for others
2) "selfless" or "self-sacrificial" caring/concern (or regard) for others
3) behavior motivated by a caring/concern (or regard) for -- or an outright devotion to -- others
4) behavior motivated by "selfless" or "self-sacrificial" caring/concern (or regard) for -- or an outright devotion to -- others**
5) behavior that actually benefits others and hurts oneself
6) behavior that actually benefits others and doesn't benefit oneself
7) an evaluative continuum wherein the morality of an action is said to increase in proportion to how much it actually benefits others
**the legitimate concept of altruism
Now, you asked for proof of an anti-concept. An appeal to this Wiki-entry, as proof that altruism is so many things to many people, is such a thing. An anti-concept is identified by two characteristics:
-it is a package deal of disparate elements, defined by a non-essential
-it obliterates a legitimate concept
If you take just the 7 senses of altruism listed above, then you have a package deal of disparate elements. Some are defined merely by one's feelings. Some are defined merely by one's actions. Some are defined by one's feelings in combination with one's actions (intent-motivated actions). Some are defined merely by motive. Some are defined by actual, existential outcomes. This is a package deal of disparate elements that -- taken as a conglomerate -- obliterates the legitimate concept of altruism.
Altruism is a moral concept. Morality is a code of values to guide one's actions (a code to try to live by). When we act to gain or keep things, we are acting for values. When we act to get rid of things, we are acting against dis-values -- which is essentially the same thing as acting for values. Increasing pleasure is a value, but decreasing pain is also a value. One possible value is a full, happy life for yourself. When that is held as your highest value, you are practicing a moral code of egoism.*** When the welfare of others is held higher than your own, so that you live primarily for others (as Comte recommended) -- then you are practicing altruism.
Altruism is something that cannot be fully practiced, because that would lead to our extinction.
***For humans, egoism does not preclude kindness to others, respect for others, or good will (benevolence) toward them. Respecting, being kind, or having good will are all common aspects of a full, happy human life.
(Edited by Ed Thompson on 12/23, 9:57pm)