An argument in favor of egotism

Each prisoner does not know what his partner will choose and communication between the two prisoners is not permitted.

An argument in favor of egotism

References and Further Reading 1. Conceptual Framework for the Debate Psychological egoism is a thesis about motivation, usually with a focus on the motivation of human intentional action.

Arguments for and against ethical egoism : askphilosophy

A famous story involving Abraham Lincoln usefully illustrates this see Rachelsp. Lincoln was allegedly arguing that we are all ultimately self-interested when he suddenly stopped to save a group of piglets from drowning.

His interlocutor seized the moment, attempting to point out that Lincoln is a living counter-example to his own theory; Lincoln seemed to be concerned with something other than what he took to be his own well-being. But Lincoln reportedly replied: The story illustrates that there are many subtle moves for the defender of psychological egoism to make.

So it is important to get a clear idea of the competing egoistic versus altruistic theories and of the terms of the debate between them.

An argument in favor of egotism

The Bare Theses Egoism is often contrasted with altruism. Although the egoism-altruism debate concerns the possibility of altruism in some sense, the ordinary term "altruism" may not track the issue that is of primary interest here.

In at least one ordinary use of the term, for someone to act altruistically depends on her being motivated solely by a concern for the welfare of another, without any ulterior motive to simply benefit herself.

An argument in favor of egotism

To this extent, this ordinary notion of altruism is close to what is of philosophical interest. But there are differences. Developing a clear and precise account of the egoism-altruism debate is more difficult than it might seem at first.

To make the task easier, we may begin with quite bare and schematic definitions of the positions in the debate Mayp. All of our ultimate desires are egoistic.

Some of our ultimate desires are altruistic. Answering these and related questions will provide the requisite framework for the debate. Altruistic Desires We can begin to add substance to our bare theses by characterizing what it is to have an altruistic versus an egoistic desire.

With these points in mind, we can characterize egoistic and altruistic desires in the following way: They do claim, however, that all such altruistic desires ultimately depend on an egoistic desire that is more basic. In other words, we have an ulterior motive when we help others—one that likely tends to fly below the radar of consciousness or introspection.

Thus, we must draw a common philosophical distinction between desires that are for a means to an end and desires for an end in itself. Desires for pleasure and the avoidance of pain are paradigmatic ultimate desires, since people often desire these as ends in themselves, not as a mere means to anything else.

Egoism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

But the class of ultimate desires may include much more than this. Relating Egoism and Altruism There are two important aspects to highlight regarding how psychological egoism and altruism relate to one another. First, psychological egoism makes a stronger, universal claim that all of our ultimate desires are egoistic, while psychological altruism merely makes the weaker claim that some of our ultimate desires are altruistic.

Consequently, psychological egoism is easier to refute than the opposing view. He does not desire this as a means to some other end, such as enjoyment at the sight of such a spectacle he might, for example, secure this in his will for after his death.

It would show that psychological egoism is false, since it would demonstrate that some of our ultimate desires are not egoistic. However, it would not show that psychological altruism is true, since it does not show that some of our ultimate desires are altruistic.

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Likewise, suppose that psychological altruism is false because none of our ultimate desires concern the benefit of others. If that is true, psychological egoism is not thereby true.

The point is that the theses are contraries: Indeed, the only major figures in the history of philosophy to endorse the view explicitly are arguably Thomas Hobbes and Jeremy Bentham. Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do.

On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. This view restricts the kind of self-interest we can ultimately desire to pleasure or the avoidance of pain.

Desire Ownership One tempting argument for psychological egoism is based on what seem to be conceptual truths about intentional action.Mar 12,  · A Critique of Rachels' Argument Against Ethical Egoism **This is from guest blogger, William P.** In his essay “Ethical Egoism,” James Rachels even-handedly considers several arguments for and against Ethical Egoism (the moral position that one only ought to do what is in one’s best interests) before concluding that only his own argument.

Most arguments for or against Strong Egoism have provoked counter­ arguments, which, in turn, have been attacked, and so on. I refer to and comment upon this secondary literature in notes, reserving the main body of the text to my own assessment of the arguments.

The (sometimes rather long) notes to Chapters 4 to 6 thus furnish an annotated bibliogra­ phy concerning the debate on Ethical Egoism.


The question about the validity of the argument from psychological egoism to ethical egoism, then, comes to this: Does the truth of ethical egoism, when construed as a . Feb 29,  · Another argument against "ethical" egoism is "rational" egoism. This form is the actual "ought" because it applies to what the egoist determines for himself is the "qua" of Man, to which he then applies his Resolved.

A simple argument against psychological egoism is that it seems obviously false. As Francis Hutcheson proclaims: “An honest farmer will tell you, that he studies the preservation and happiness of his children, and loves them without any design of good to himself” (/, p.

, Raphael sect. ). Do we have a reason to view this argument as something other then circular reasoning in terms of being an actual counterargument. Its clear that "this would imply some rather shocking things" provides for pragmatic considerations like "we should be a bit more careful about casually adopting this".

What are arguments in favor of ethical egoism? | Yahoo Answers