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1111298173 282414 6 1111298173 282414 6 Presentation Transcript

  • Chapter Six: Egoism, Self-Interest, and Altruism Nestlé's infant formula, the notorious example of selfishness in the business world
  • Two Main Types of Egoism Psychological Egoism: We always do that act that we perceive to be in our own best self-interest. Ethical Egoism: Everyone ought always to do those acts that will serve his or her own best self-interest.
  • The Argument from Self-Satisfaction S. Everyone is an egoist because everyone always tries to do what will bring him or her satisfaction S1. For any act A, everyone does A in order to obtain satisfaction
  • The Argument from Self-Satisfaction S2. We all do the act that we most want to do, and as a consequence, we are satisfied by the success of carrying out the act. S3. We always try to do what we most want to do and, as a consequence of success in carrying out the act, experience satisfaction.
  • The Paradox of Hedonism The best way to get happiness is to forget about it. Worthy goals will indirectly bring about happiness. Focus on the goals, not the happiness. Seems to suggest psychological egoism has severe problems
  • The Argument from SelfDeception Alter interpretation of S to include subconscious motivations. Thesis now states that sometimes we are self-deceived about our motivation, but whenever we overcome self-deception and really look deep into our motivational schemes, we find an essential selfishness.
  • Ethical Egoism Everyone ought to always do those acts that will best serve his or her own best selfinterest. Morally right actions are those that maximize the best interest of oneself. Does not maintain that every person ought to serve the best interests of me specifically.
  • The Argument from Strict Psychological Egoism 1. We all always seek to maximize our own self-interest. 2. If one cannot do an act, one has no obligation to do that act. 3. Altruistic acts involve putting other people's interests ahead of our own.
  • The Argument from Strict Psychological Egoism 4. But, altruism contradicts psychological egoism and so is impossible 5. Therefore, altruistic acts are never morally obligatory.
  • Hobbes's Argument from Predominant Psychological Egoism Selfishness forces us into chaos, and selfishness forces us to solve the problem through mutually agreed-on moral codes.  Problem: assumes we cannot do any better than be egoists, so we should be as strategic about our egoism as possible.
  • Smith's Economic Argument Individual self-interest in a competitive marketplace produces a state of optimal goodness for society at large The result of an “invisible hand” A two-tier system –Tier 2 General goal: social utility –Tier 1 Individual motivation: egoistic
  • Rand's Argument for the Virtue of Selfishness Selfishness is a virtue Altruism a vice, a totally destructive idea that leads to the undermining of individual worth Every individual has a duty to seek his or her own good first, regardless of how it affects others
  • Arguments Against Ethical Egoism 1.The Inconsistent Outcomes Argument: Ethical Egoism cannot be true because it fails to meet a necessary condition of morality – being a guide to action
  • Arguments Against Ethical Egoism 1.The Publicity Argument: An egoist cannot publicly advertise his egoistic project without harming that very project.
  • Arguments Against Ethical Egoism 1.The Paradox of Ethical Egoism : To reach the goal of egoism one must give up egoism and become (to some extent) an altruist, the very antithesis of egoism.
  • Arguments Against Ethical Egoism 1.The Argument from Counterintuitive Consequences: It is an absolute moral system that not only permits egoistic behavior, but also demands it.
  • Arguments Against Ethical Egoism 5. The Problem of Future Generations : Egoism seems unable to deal with the problem of obligations to posterity.  The egoist gains nothing by preserving natural resources for future generations that do not yet exist and thus can give no benefit to the egoist.
  • Evolution and Altruism Sociobiology theorizes that social structures and behavioral patterns, including morality, have a biological base, explained by evolutionary theory. There is a difference between pure altruism and reciprocal altruism but we have a duty to both kinds of altruism.