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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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I deny that others ought to maximize my good they should maximize their own goods.

The Possibility of Altruism. History of Western Philosophy. But fit with motivation is hardly decisive; any normative theory, including ethical egoism, is intended to guide and criticize our choices, rather than simply endorse whatever we do.

It is unlikely that this argument proves that ethical egoism generates all of the standard duties to others. Other, less restricted forms of psychological egoism may allow the ultimate goal of a person to include such things as avoiding punishments from oneself or others such as guilt or shame and attaining rewards such as prideself-worth, power or reciprocal beneficial action.

If true, this entails that psychological egoism is false. Yet this prediction has been repeatedly disconfirmed Batsonch. Some of the acts involve affronts to the senses e.

Psychological Egoism | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

They sometimes require uncompensated sacrifices, particularly when the loss to the agent is small and the gain to others is large. True, the ethical egoist is unlikely to recommend ethical egoism to others, to blame others for violations of what ethical egoism requires, to justify herself to others on the basis of ethical egoism, or to express moral attitudes such as forgiveness and resentment.


In this case, the caller desires the well-being of the victim, even though the desire itself is the caller’s own. Desire Ownership One tempting argument for psychological egoism is felnberg on what seem to be conceptual truths about intentional action.

Unless I can explain why I should be preferred, my claim looks equally arbitrary.

Joel Feinberg, Psychological Egoism – PhilPapers

First printed in If so, ethical egoism and standard moralities will diverge in some cases. This objection was tendered by William Hazlitt [27] and Thomas Macaulay [28] in the 19th century, and has been restated many times since.

Whether it is superior depends on the strength of the arguments for it. He has a better life, in terms of welfare, by avoiding years of guilt. Psychological Egoism is the position that the ultimate motive of all actions is selfish. He would deny as ridiculous the claim that he acted in his self-interest. This sort of explanation appears to be close to the view of La Rochefoucauld [22] and perhaps Hobbes [23].

Psychological egoism

Sober and Wilson find no reason to believe that a hedonistic mechanism would be more or less available or energetically efficient. If we think of the boundary between ourselves and another as indeterminate, presumably our helping behavior would reflect egoiam indeterminacy. According to the present-aim theory, I have most reason to do what maximizes the satisfaction of my present desires.


I might, for example, profit more from helping the local Opera society refurbish its hall than I would from giving to famine relief in Africa, but standard moral theories would rank famine relief as more important than Opera hall improvements.

Perhaps as infants we have only self-regarding desires; we come to desire other things, such as doing our duty, by learning that these other things satisfy our self-regarding desires; in time, we pursue the other things for their own sakes.

Beginning around the s, C. Though Feinberg, who had read and re-read Mill’s classic text many times, [5] shares Mill’s liberal leanings, he thinks that liberals can and should admit that certain kinds of non-harmful but profoundly offensive conduct can also properly be prohibited by law.

Psychological Egoism

Both cognitive studies and neuropsychological experiments have provided evidence for this theory: Given the importance of parental care, this is a reason for thinking that natural selection would have favoured one of these mechanisms.

In an ingenious series of experiments, Batson compared the egoistic hypotheses, one by one, against the altruistic hypothesis. In one sense, this is true. It does not follow that self-interest is for them a normative standard.

By Edward Jarvis Bond. Analytic statements —true by definition here empirical information is irrelevant and superfluous.