A view on psychological egoism

Consequently, selfishness is something that relates to egoism. Selfishness is in many forms, which will be discussed later on. Both of these subjects have been a center of discussion for years now.

A view on psychological egoism

There are two main theories. Often, and most plausibly, these desires are restricted to self-regarding desires. What makes a desire self-regarding is controversial, but there are clear cases and counter-cases: Objective accounts identify self-interest with the possession of states such as virtue or knowledge that are valued independently of whether they are desired.

Psychological egoism claims that each person has but one ultimate aim: This allows for action that fails to maximize perceived self-interest, but rules out the sort of behavior psychological egoists like to target — such as altruistic behavior or motivation by thoughts of duty alone.

It allows for weakness of will, since in weakness of will cases I am still aiming at my own welfare; I am weak in that I do not act as I aim. Psychological egoism is supported by our frequent observation of self-interested behavior.

Apparently altruistic action is often revealed to be self-interested. And we typically motivate people by appealing to their self-interest through, for example, punishments and rewards.

A common objection to psychological egoism, made famously by Joseph Butler, is that I must desire things other than my own welfare in order to get welfare. Say I derive welfare from playing hockey. Unless I desired, for its own sake, to play hockey, I would not derive welfare from playing.

Or say I derive welfare from helping others. Unless I desired, for its own sake, that others do well, I would not derive welfare from helping them. Welfare results from my action, but cannot be the only aim of my action. The psychological egoist can concede that I must have desires for particular things, such as playing hockey.

But there is no need to concede that the satisfaction of these desires is not part of my welfare. My welfare might consist simply in the satisfaction of self-regarding desires.

In the case of deriving welfare from helping others, the psychological egoist can again concede that I would not derive welfare without desiring some particular thing, but need not agree that what I desire for its own sake is that others do well.

That I am the one who helps them may, for example, satisfy my self-regarding desire for power. A bigger problem for psychological egoism is that some behavior does not seem to be explained by self-regarding desires.

Say a soldier throws himself on a grenade to prevent others from being killed. It does not seem that the soldier is pursuing his perceived self-interest.

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It is plausible that, if asked, the soldier would have said that he threw himself on the grenade because he wanted to save the lives of others or because it was his duty. He would deny as ridiculous the claim that he acted in his self-interest.

A view on psychological egoism

The psychological egoist might reply that the soldier is lying or self-deceived. Perhaps he threw himself on the grenade because he could not bear to live with himself afterwards if he did not do so. He has a better life, in terms of welfare, by avoiding years of guilt.

The main problem here is that while this is a possible account of some cases, there is no reason to think it covers all cases. Another problem is that guilt may presuppose that the soldier has a non-self-regarding desire for doing what he takes to be right.

The psychological egoist might reply that some such account must be right. After all, the soldier did what he most wanted to do, and so must have been pursuing his perceived self-interest.

In one sense, this is true.Among the subjects that have been part of it is the topic about psychological egoism vs. ethical egoism. The Beliefs on Egoism in Relation to Human Behavior As for the psychological egoism vs.

ethical egoism, the latter is described as the belief in which it states that humans are usually always selfish. Egoism: Psychological egoism, the view that people act in their own interest, is first defined and second refuted as being a meaningful ethical philosophy.

Psychological hedonism: Psychological hedonism, in philosophical psychology, the view that all human action is ultimately motivated by desires for pleasure and the avoidance of pain. It has been espoused by a variety of distinguished thinkers, including Epicurus, Jeremy Bentham, and John Stuart Mill, and important Psychological egoism is a.

Psychological egoism is not an ethical theory, but a descriptive view about human behavior. Given this, how might the truth of psychological egoism have implications on ethics?

Ethics is . Psychological egoism, the most famous descriptive position, claims that each person has but one ultimate aim: her own welfare. Normative forms of egoism make claims about what one ought to do, rather than describe what one does do.

(Parfit's view is that psychological connection and continuity both ground special care, if special care is. Consequently, psychological egoism is easier to refute than the opposing view. If one were to successfully demonstrate that some—even just one—of a person’s ultimate desires are altruistic, then we can safely reject psychological egoism.

Egoism | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy