Psychological egoism
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Psychological egoism

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Psychological egoism Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Psychological Egoism
    Is it possible to be unselfish?
  • 2. Psychological Egoism – all actions are selfish in nature
    Altruism is a myth
    It is not possible to act unselfishly
    All examples of altruism have a deeper meaning eg David gives money to charity to go to heaven
    All action is ultimately ‘self centered’
    All actions have selfish motivations/intentions
    Watch video – psychological egoism 2 (1min)
    Discuss
  • 3. Thomas Hobbes
    All human behaviour is motivated by 2 impulses
    “seek pleasure and avoid pain’
    He gave two examples
    1. Charity - Whoever is giving to charity is ultimately showing off their superiority
    2. Pity – Far from being able to empathise with other people’s sufferings, Hobbes believed it was a way of reminding ourselves that the same thing could happen to us.
  • 4. Epicurus
    Go online and find out about Epicurus’ view of human behaviour – 20 minutes
    Read info in booklet – watch 10 minutes from video
    Brainstorm
  • 5. Nietzsche
    Go online and find out about Nietzsches view of human behaviour – 20 minutes
    Read info in booklet – Or use the wiki
    Notes on 1. The Genealogy of morals 2. Beyond good and evil
    Brainstorm
  • 6. Two arguments in favour of psychological egoism
    1. All actions whether selfish or unselfish amounts to the person doing what they most want to do – Action is based on desire
    2. Acting unselfishly produces a sense of self satisfaction in the person who does them
    Watch video – psychological egoism 1 (1.45)
  • 7. James Rachels
    James Rachels argues against psychological egoism
    He uses the following points to attempt to show how humans are capable of altruistic behaviour
  • 8. The arguments against psychological egoism – 1. Acting against desire
    We sometimes act against our wishes and desires – Eg World War 1 trenches
    There are times when we act against our desires
    We act because we ‘ought’ to
    Eg Carrying out a promise to do something even when we don’t want to do it
  • 9. 2. Helping others is what makes us unselfish – selfishness is defined by the object of our desire
    Argument for Psychological Egoism - All actions whether selfish or unselfish amounts to the person doing what they most want to do – action is based on desire
    However, Rachels argues …
    Selfishness is defined by object of desire
    If Jones wants to sacrifice going to the cinema to donate $10 to help children in the Congo that is precisely what makes him unselfish
    Selfishness is defined by the object of a want/desire
    If I want to help others and act on that want, then I am not selfish
  • 10. 3. Helping others is precisely what makes us unselfish
    Argument for psychological egoism - Acting unselfishly produces a sense of self satisfaction in the person who does them
    However, Rachels argues …..
    3. Unselfish people derive satisfaction out of helping others
    Isn’t the unselfish person precisely the one who does derive happiness from helping others – Selfish people do not
    If I get satisfaction from helping starving people – This just shows that I am ‘good hearted’
  • 11. In short
    Ultimately Rachel’s argues
    People act from a great variety of motives – greed, anger, lust, love, hate etc
    Human actions are multi-layered in different colours of grey and not just black and white
  • 12. Written work – Questions
    Outline the theory of psychological egoism – Include Hobbes and Epicurus in your answer
    Examine James Rachel’s arguments in opposition to this theory
    Complete for homework
  • 13. Discuss – video clip – with reference to psychological egoism