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Psychological egoism is the doctrine that the only thing anyone is capable of desiring or pursuing ultimately is. a. entirely selfish goals. b. his or her own. Psychological egoism is the thesis that we are always deep down motivated by . does not concern oneself, but it is hardly altruistic (Feinberg /, §9, p. Psychological egoism is a universal claim: it is a claim about all human actions; the .. Feinberg doesn’t just critique this argument for hedonistic psychological.

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Psychological egoism – Wikipedia

Such arguments have not gone undisputed see, for example, Stich et al. An overview of the philosophical, evolutionary, and psychological work relevant to the egoism-altruism debate. This objection was tendered by William Hazlitt [27] and Thomas Macaulay [28] in the 19th century, and has been restated many times since.

Open access to the SEP is made possible by a world-wide funding initiative. Both focus on the rational egoist’s attitude toward the future: This page was last edited on 31 Octoberat By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Joel Feinberg

For a very different argument to show again that an alternative to morality is less minimal than expected — directed more at the instrumental theory than rational egoism — see Korsgaard And it allows for aiming at things other than one’s welfare, such as helping others, where these things are a means to one’s welfare.

Relating Egoism and Altruism There are two important aspects to highlight regarding how psychological egoism and altruism relate to one another. Psychological Egoism is the position that the ultimate motive of all actions is selfish. Say half of my brain will be transplanted to another body A. Science Logic and Mathematics. Examines a wide range of empirical data from social psychology for the empathy-altruism hypothesis. Rejects psychological egoism based primarily on traditional philosophical arguments.


Perhaps something like utilitarianism is justified as self-evident rather than inferred from some other reasons. Another analogy is that of friendship.

egois Even if the experience of pleasure sometimes presupposes a desire for the pleasurable object, it is still left open whether the desire for what generated the pleasure is merely instrumental to a desire for pleasure or some other egoisj of self-interest. Some of the facts may also not give the sharp distinction Sidgwick wants. One worry is that what best increases reproductive fitness is acting as a kin altruist rather than as a rational egoist CrispOther Internet Resources.

Daniel Batson and other social psychologists addressed the debate head on by examining such phenomena. Accordingly, all actions are tools for increasing pleasure or decreasing pain, even those defined as altruistic and those that do not cause an immediate change in satisfaction levels.

Joel Feinberg, Psychological Egoism – PhilPapers

As with ethical egoism, there are variants which drop maximization or evaluate rules or character traits rather than actions. Sign in to use this feature. If I could guarantee that I do the right act by relying on a Moral Answers Machine and not otherwiseI ought to do so.

Alexander Moseley – – Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Sometimes people benefit from helping others e. What sorts of conduct may the state rightly make criminal? One might, for example, claim that one ought to achieve a certain level of welfare, but that there is no requirement to achieve more.

Philosopher Carolyn Morillo has defended a version of psychological hedonism based on more recent neuroscientific work primarily done on rats. Mirror Sites View this site from another server: A different problem for rational egoism is that it appears arbitrary. An ethical egoist might reply by taking the cooperation argument further. Now say half of my brain will go in B and half in C.

A famous story involving Abraham Lincoln usefully illustrates this see Rachelsp. Broad on Psychological Egoism.


Perhaps a Batson-proof egoistic hypothesis could be offered: But this is altruism only in the sense of helpful behavior that seems to be at some cost to the helper. An updated book-length defense of the existence of altruism in humans. Analytic statements —true by definition here empirical information psychologicql irrelevant and superfluous. Discusses a wide range of philosophical topics related to motivation. This seems problematic for a theory that says all of our ultimate desires are for our own well-being.

Something besides happiness must be the means to that end. Rational egoism claims that it is necessary and sufficient for an action to be rational that it maximize one’s self-interest.

How to cite this entry. The story of psychological egoism is rather peculiar.

Oxford University Press,p. The cooperation argument depends on a short-term loss such as keeping a promise that it is inconvenient to keep being recompensed by a long-term gain such as being trusted in future promises. This conflict with the instrumental theory is a major problem for rational egoism.

For a more optimistic verdict on this strategy, noting its roots in Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and the British Idealists, see Brink and Indeed, the only major figures in the history of philosophy to endorse the view explicitly are arguably Thomas Hobbes and Jeremy Bentham.

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. In Offense to Othersthe second volume of The Moral Limits of the Criminal LawFeinberg offers one of the most famous thought-experiments in recent philosophy: