egoism - EGOISM A What is Egoism 1 the view that the right...

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E G O I S M A. What is Egoism? 1. the view that the right thing for a person P to do is whatever brings about the best consequences for P 2. What is meant by “best consequences”? a) We’ll be discussing this later on c) So an act’s having the best consequences for me just means that it makes me happier (or less unhappy) overall than any other choice A. What is Egoism? 3. Here’s one precise formulation: (EEg) An act-token X performed by person P at time T is morally right if and only if there is no other act that P could perform at time T that would produce a greater balance of happiness vs. unhappiness for person P over the remainder of P’s life 4. In the case of a “tie”, either act is right E.g. a colorblind person buying either a red or green balloon A. What is Egoism? 5. Contrast with psychological egoism . a) The theory that in fact people always act in their best interest, or that no one every acts unselfishly. b) Psychological egoism is a psychological theory, about how people do behave. To tell if it’s true we need to do experiments and research actual behavior. c) Ethical egoism ( Eeg) is a thesis in ethics about how people should act. There’s no easy experiment to tell us whether or not it’s true.
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B. Arguments for Egoism 1. Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) 2. Source of morality is the need for humans to live together in a civilized society in order to survive. 3. Without law and morality, we would be in “a state of nature”, where each person competed with others for food, shelter, and resources. 4. Everyone is better off when we agree to abide by certain principles of respect and cooperation, and punish those who break the agreement. 5. This is the reason to act morally. B. Arguments for Egoism 6. Hobbes’s line of thought can be made into an argument: P1. The only reason a person has to act morally is to protect his or her own self-interest. P2. If the only reason a person has to act morally is
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This note was uploaded on 02/22/2012 for the course PHILOS 160 taught by Professor Meacham during the Fall '11 term at UMass (Amherst).

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egoism - EGOISM A What is Egoism 1 the view that the right...

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