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Abstract

The definition of altruism has been studied, explained, and even confused by many scholars in various fields. The term itself has been inappropriately used to describe prosocial behaviors that do not fall within the definition of altruism. An evaluation of Grant Ramsey’s taxonomy of altruism, which includes biological altruism, psychological altruism, and helping altruism, proves that it is not adequate in categorizing organism’s behaviors. A new taxonomy, with the branches of kin selection, reciprocity, and aesthetic altruism, is presented and explained to clarify the definition of altruism and alleviate confusion about how to describe prosocial behaviors. Both naming systems are analyzed according to the evolutionary or Biblical influences that impact certain behaviors among organisms. It is concluded that the new taxonomy is a more accurate tool for classifying all prosocial behaviors in the world.