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Rational Egoism - Egoism First published Mon Nov 4 2002...

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Egoism First published Mon Nov 4, 2002; substantive revision Mon Oct 4, 2010 Egoism can be a descriptive or a normative position. 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. Ethical egoism claims that it is necessary and sufficient for an action to be morally right that it maximize one's self-interest. Rational egoism claims that it is necessary and sufficient for an action to be rational that it maximize one's self-interest. Egoism can be a descriptive or a normative position. 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. Ethical egoism claims that it is necessary and sufficient for an action to be morally right that it maximize one's self-interest. Rational egoism claims that it is necessary and sufficient for an action to be rational that it maximize one's self-interest. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/egoism/ Rational Egoism Brink, D. 1992, “Sidgwick and the Rationale for Rational Egoism,” in Essays on Henry Sidgwick , ed. B. Schultz, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Johnston, M, 1997, “Human Concerns Without Superlative Selves,” in Reading Parfit , ed. J. Dancy, Oxford: Blackwell, 149–179. Kagan, S., 1986, “The Present-Aim Theory of Rationality,” Ethics , 96: 746–759. Hills, A., 2010, The Beloved Self , Oxford: Oxford University Press. Korsgaard, C, 2005, “The Myth of Egoism,”, in Practical Conflicts: New Philosophical Essays , ed. P. Baumann and M. Betzler, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 59–91. Parfit, D., 1984, Reasons and Persons , Oxford: Oxford University Press. Parfit, D., 1986, Reply to Kagan, Ethics , 96: 843–846, 868–869. Shaver, R. 1999, Rational Egoism , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Shaver, R., forthcoming, “Review of Hills, The Beloved Self ,” Philosophical Quarterly . 3. Rational Egoism Rational egoism claims that it is necessary and sufficient for an action to be rational that it maximize one's self-interest. (As with ethical egoism, there are variants which drop maximization or evaluate rules or character traits rather than actions. There are also variants which make the maximization of self-interest necessary but not sufficient, or sufficient but not necessary, for an action to be rational. Again, I set these aside.) Like ethical egoism, rational egoism needs arguments to support it. One might cite our most confident judgments about rational action and claim that rational egoism best fits these. The problem is that our most confident judgments about rational action seem to be captured by a
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different, extremely popular theory — the instrumental theory of rationality. According to the instrumental theory, it is necessary and sufficient, for an action to be rational, that it maximize the satisfaction of one's preferences. Since psychological egoism seems false, it may be rational
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