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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Rational egoism claims that it is necessary and sufficient for an action to be rational that it maximize one’s self-interest. Evidence from biology, feinbefg, and psychology has stimulated a lively interdisciplinary dialogue. I may usually know more about my pain than yours, but this difference seems a matter of degree. Second, shifting the burden of proof based on common sense is rather limited.

Sometimes such benefit presupposes a desire for what generated it e. For sample discussions of these two objections, see Baier —; Campbell psjchological Frankena 18—20; Kalin Psychological egoists and hedonists psychologjcal found through numerous observations of natural human behavior that behavior can be manipulated through reward and punishment both of which have direct effects of pain and pleasure.

Indeed, when examining the empirical evidence, two sorts of approach have been used to argue against psychological egoism.

Joel Feinberg – Wikipedia

egoisj An overview of the experimental evidence for altruism. Other moral judgments would be excluded since it would be impossible to motivate anyone to follow them. Sign in Create an account. The present-aim theory does not.


Consider, for example, getting second place in a race. To counter this critique, psychological egoism asserts that all such desires for the well being of others are ultimately derived from self-interest. The new premise seems to amount to nothing more than the denial psycholpgical psychological egoism: This sort of explanation appears to be close to the view of La Rochefoucauld [22] and perhaps Hobbes [23].

If I am an egoist, I hold that I ought to maximize my good. Relating Egoism and Altruism There are two important aspects to highlight regarding how psychological egoism and altruism relate to one another.

Say the cost to me of saving a drowning person is getting my shirtsleeve wet.

Egoism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

There are possibilities other than maximization. One could then, if one wished, argue for ethical egoism from rational egoism and the plausible claim that the best moral theory must tell me what I have most reason to do. Originally published in How would the truth of such a contention be established?

Cambridge University Press, 59— In one sense, this is true.

Psychological egoism

At best it is a logical possibility, like some forms of scepticism. The story of psychological egoism is rather peculiar.

If Mother Teresa did have an altruistic desire for the benefit of another, it is no count against her that she sought to satisfy it—that is, bring about the benefit of another. But that reply does not defend eoism from the charge of falsity.

Given the multiple uses of terms, discussion of altruism and self-interest in evolutionary theory can often seem directly relevant to the psychological egoism-altruism debate. Still, a general lesson can clearly be gained from arguments like Butler’s. In this case, the action sitting on command will have become a force of habit, and breaking such a habit would result in mental discomfort.


Joel Feinberg

Feinnberg general experimental approach involves placing ordinary people in situations in which they have an opportunity to help someone they think is in need while manipulating other variables in the situation. The hedonistic mechanism always begins with the ultimate desire for pleasure and the avoidance of pain.

There is another recent argument against rational egoism Rachels and AlterTersmanand especially de Lazari-Radek and Singer Oxford University Press, pp.

As Francis Hutcheson proclaims: One tempting argument for psychological egoism is based on what seem to be conceptual truths about intentional action. It also faces a worry for any objective theory: Ethical egoists can reply, however, that egoism generates many of the same duties to others.

For example, it allows one to keep some good, such as a job, for oneself, even if giving the good to someone else would help him slightly more, and it captures the intuition that I need not let others exploit me. Here I put aside finberg objections to evolutionary debunking arguments see, for example, Shafer-Landau