Lecture 02 - Theories of self-interest Egoism and...

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Theories of self-interest Egoism and self-interest These are part of metaethics. Psychological egoism is the doctrine that espouses that humans can only act from self- regarding motives. This is a claim about our biology and psychology. Even if we want to act for others we can only act for ourselves. Psychological egoism is a description of how we act. It says there is no choice in the matter. This is a descriptive ethical claim. Ethical egoism is a normative doctrine. Humans should only act from self-regarding motives. Presumably, one can and should act from self-regarding motives. One can be an ethical egoist and think altruistically but one should act egoistically. We can and sometimes should act in interests other than our own, at times against our self-interest. Psychological egoism entails (logically implies) ethical egoism. The reverse is not the case. Hobbes believes in PE and EE. Both egoisms are structural, but they don’t say what self-interest is. We can talk about self-interest without in any way espousing PE and/or EE. Interest
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This note was uploaded on 12/04/2011 for the course PHL 275 taught by Professor Laurenb. during the Fall '11 term at University of Toronto.

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Lecture 02 - Theories of self-interest Egoism and...

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