First Essay v2

First Essay v2 - First Essay Psychological egoism is an...

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First Essay Psychological egoism is an empirical doctrine which maintains that the motive for every voluntary action is the desire for one’s own welfare. It holds that all voluntary human behavior is motivated by self-interest and asserts that this relationship between human action and self- interest is a scientific fact, the same as other behavior principles studied and tested in psychology. It is the guiding principle present in all humans and is unavoidable and makes no claim as to how an individual should act, as ethical egoism maintains. Psychological egoism denies the notion of altruism explaining it as an illusion or merely self-interest in disguise. Ostensibly selfless acts may actually be a means to acquiring praise or gratitude as the true objective of human behavior. Psychological egoists readily point out that even though all actions are wholly governed by self-interest, individuals often conceal their determining motives for acting because such concealment is in their self-interest. A subset of psychological egoism is psychological egoistic hedonism espoused by Jeremy Bentham whereby the particular self- interest to be satisfied is pleasure, i.e. individuals only act to please themselves. Although pleasure is a powerful refinement of self-interest, it is not a necessary refinement. A powerful argument in support of Psychological egoism is in this refinement of self- interest as pleasure which serves to make the notion of self-interest more universal and more easily understood. Actions are deemed successful when they fulfill a desire and individuals perform these actions with an expectation that they will be successful. That is, people always act with an expectation that they will fulfill a desire, which results in satisfaction. Satisfaction, regardless of what it pertains to, always provides pleasure. Thus, people act with an expectation that they will experience pleasure. Although Feinberg stipulates that there are two definitions of pleasure: the specific-sensual form, which covers feelings like seeing a beautiful sunrise, and the general-desire fulfillment, the definition of pleasure is unique, personal and valid whether it is specifically sensual or general as long as it is determined by the person performing the action –
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This note was uploaded on 03/23/2008 for the course PHI 202 taught by Professor Michaela.smith during the Spring '08 term at Princeton.

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First Essay v2 - First Essay Psychological egoism is an...

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