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Egoism and Self Interest

by: Siduri Notetaker

Egoism and Self Interest Phil 202

Marketplace > Ball State University > PHIL-Philosophy > Phil 202 > Egoism and Self Interest
Siduri Notetaker
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Hey. Here is notes for Phil 202 : Ethics ; Egoism and Self interest!! Hope this helps!!!
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Siduri Notetaker on Tuesday September 1, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to Phil 202 at Ball State University taught by Bowen in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 83 views. For similar materials see Ethics in PHIL-Philosophy at Ball State University.

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Date Created: 09/01/15
Phil 202 Ethics Week 2 notes Egoism and Selfinterest Psychological Egoism PE The thesis that El All that anyone is capable of desiring or pursuing ultimately is their own selfinterest I The thesis is descriptive it purports to make a claim about psychological facts concerning the source of human motivation I If psychological egoism is true then there is no such thing as an altruistic act Reasons for Psychological Egoism CI The psychological egoist attempts to use this to infer the substantive claim All of an agent s motives are based on selfinterest I This inference is invalid because it violates a basic logical rule that analytic tautologies cannot entail synthetic statements ie claims about the world I The premise the egoist really needs I Every voluntary action is prompted by a motive of a particular kind viz self regarding interest I Now the argument is questionbegging because the revised premise about motivation presupposes the truth of psychological egoism Other Reasons for PE 2 When an agent gets what she wants she feels pleasure I Pleasure is a strong motivator I Agents act so as to increase their own pleasure I Is pleasure the only motivating feeling I Is it Don t social animals often make sacri ces for the good of the group Genetic reproduction trumps individual survival I What must the psychological egoist say about examples of otherdirected actions e g charity philanthropy fostering children adopting rescue animals I Is operant conditioning the only way to learn moral behavior I What other methods can be employed to teach morality Ethical Egoism EE III The normative thesis that I EE is normative because it recommends that one should act out of selfinterest I Your only moral duty is to yourself I If so then you are never obligated to promote the interests of others Ayn Rand quotIn Defense of Ethical Egoismquot 1 Value is that which one acts to gain or keep 2 Virtue is the way of attaining one39s values 3 Humans are volitional creatures capable of making choices based on reason El Human will is guided by interests and reasons 4 Value presupposes the concept of volitional choice 5 Life necessitates value 6 An individual39s own life is of supreme importance to them highest value Life can be kept in existence only by a constant process of selfsustaining action The goal of that action the ultimate value which to be kept must be gained through its every moment is the organism s life Rand 1961 1617 What view does Rand take to be irrational and destructive to the individual I Two sources of altruistic morality I Religion Sacrifice your life for the sake of God I Humanism Sacrifice your life for the sake of others I Why does Rand oppose duties to others Altruism permits no concept of selfrespecting selfsupporting man Rand 1961 ix A0 We ought to endorse the moral philosophy that takes seriously the moral value of the individual A1 If you take seriously that individual human life is morally valuable then it is the highest value A2 The ethics of altruism regards the life of the individual as something to be sacrificed for the good of others A3 So the ethics of altruism does not take seriously the value of an individual39s life A4 Ethical Egoism recommends that each individual act out of their own selfinterest because their individual life is the ultimate value A5 S0 Ethical Egoism takes seriously the moral value of the individual A6 S0 Ethical Egoism is the moral philosophy that ought to be endorsed Are there problems Does her argument rest on an implicit premise Alb You must endorse either altruism or egoism Is this a false dilemma Are there other moral options Would any other moral theory accommodate Rand s criterion for endorsement What about socalled commonsense morality The view that morality requires that we balance our own interests against the interests of others Rachels 213 B 1 We ought to do whatever will promote the best interests of everyone alike B2 The interests of everyone will be best promoted if each of us adopts the policy of pursuing our own interests exclusively B3 Therefore each of us should adopt the policy of pursuing our own interests exclusively see Rachels p215 How is premise B2 supported Is this really an argument for ethical egoism El Some egoists argue that EE is simply the best way to explain our commonsense morality e g Hobbes El Fundamental prohibitions against harming others lying and breaking promises can all be explained by EB How so El On this approach all our basic duties to others derive from the principle of SelfInterest El Does Ethical Egoism entail the Golden Rule I What are some possible objections Rachels 217 Rachels discusses three types of arguments that have been presented to show that Ethical Egoism is an unacceptable moral theory Cl Sometimes our interests con ict with one another C2 If so then we need moral rules for settling con icts of interest C3 Any adequate moral theory should offer solutions for settling con icts of interest C4 Ethical Egoism does not resolve con icts C5 Ethical Egoism is not an adequate moral theory Ll Suppose it is each person s duty to do what is in her own best interests L2 It is in B s best interest to kill K L3 It is in K s best interest to prevent B from killing her L4 So it is B s duty to kill K and K s duty to prevent B L5 But it is wrong to prevent someone from doing their duty L6 So it is wrong for K to prevent B L7 So it is both wrong and not wrong for K to prevent B from killing her L8 Absurd No act can be both wrong and not wrong L9 So L1 is false Ethical Egoism is false Argument from Arbitrariness Rachels 220 R1 Any moral doctrine that assigns greater importance to the interests of one group than to those of another is unacceptably arbitrary unless there is some difference between the members of the groups that justifies treating them differently R2 Ethical Egoism recommends that each person assign greater importance to his or her own interests than to the interests of others R3 There is no general difference between oneself and others to Which each person can appeal that justifies this difference in treatment R4 So Ethical Egoism is unacceptably arbitrary


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