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Definition of a "Good Deed"

Posted by R. Berg on April 04, 2001

In Reply to: Definition of a "Good Deed" posted by Steven Redman on April 04, 2001

: Hello all; I was hoping to find a good defintion or example of a doing a "Good Deed" I was thinking of it as a selfless act of doing something good for another with no recognition ..not calling attention to the doer and not done in return for a favor.Can any one help please with more widely recognized definition?
: Thank you

People could argue forever about whether an act is a good deed if the doer's motives are mixed. By my understanding of the term, a gift to charity is a good deed even if it produces a tax deduction for the giver. A service performed by a child is a good deed even if done on assignment from the Scoutmaster. Someone who rescues a neighbor from a burning house has done a good deed even if the thought of getting a medal flitted across his or her mind during the rescue.

If you define "good deed" so narrowly as to exclude all acts that earn recognition, you have a logical problem. Good deeds are likely to be recognized. The stranger to whom I give directions on the street may thank me, thus showing appreciation. Having pulled my neighbor out of the burning house, I may get a medal from the mayor a year later. Surely these acknowledgments don't knock my altruistic acts off the "good deeds" list.

Giving in secret is nice, but giving in the open is nice too.

Anybody want to argue the other side?