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.

Author: Voodooktilar Gut
Country: Andorra
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Business
Published (Last): 7 April 2017
Pages: 428
PDF File Size: 8.20 Mb
ePub File Size: 17.30 Mb
ISBN: 371-8-74586-566-3
Downloads: 20889
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Kazik

Can you achieve happiness by only acting out of a desire for happiness? Likewise, suppose that psychological altruism is false because none egoiam our ultimate desires concern the benefit of others.

Psychological Egoism

Objective accounts identify self-interest with the possession of states such as virtue or knowledge that are valued independently of whether they are desired. A specific form of psychological egoism is psychological hedonismthe view that the ultimate motive for all voluntary human action is the desire to experience pleasure or to avoid pain.

Thus, it is a specific version of psychological egoism. But rational egoism and kin altruism do make opposed recommendations. At the very least, the argument is dialectically unhelpful —it offers premises in support of the conclusion that are as controversial as the conclusion is, and for similar reasons. Thus, when performing altruistic actions motivated by empathy, humans experience someone else’s pleasure of being helped.

One might reply with de Lazari-Radek and Singer that there are other ways of arriving at the conclusion that I have reason to care about the well-being of everyone. The ethical egoist might reply that, if predominant egoism is true, ethical egoism may require less deviation from our ordinary actions than egoixm standard moral theory. He ultimately attempts to give a more Humean defense of altruism, as opposed to the more Kantian defenses found in Thomas Nagel, for example.

If a person asserts or believes a general statement in such egoisk way that he cannot conceive of any possible experience which he would count as evidence against it, then he cannot be said to be asserting or believing an empirical hypothesis.


To set up their argument, they propose two potential psychological mechanisms for this. Psychological egoism is controversial. Of course the divergence between ethical egoism and standard moral theories need not bother an ethical egoist. He was an esteemed and highly successful teacher, and many of his students are now prominent scholars and professors at universities across the US.

The divergence between ethical egoism and standard moral theories appears in other ways. Answering these and related questions will provide the requisite framework for the debate. But there are differences. Assuming such behavior is mediated by what the organism believes and desires, we can inquire into the kinds of mental mechanisms that could have evolved.

Mirror neurons are activated both when a human or animal performs an action and when they observe another human or animal performs the same action.

However, the theses in this debate are ultimately empirical claims about human motivation. In the cases above, A psychologgical, B and C are continuous with me.

Perhaps morality need not be practical at all: But fit with motivation is hardly decisive; any normative theory, including ethical egoism, is intended to guide and criticize our choices, rather than simply endorse whatever we do. The problem is that our most confident judgments about rational action seem to be captured by a different, extremely popular theory — the instrumental theory of rationality.

With these points in mind, we can characterize egoistic and altruistic desires in the following way: Operant conditioning works through reinforcement and punishment which adds or removes pleasure and pain to manipulate behavior.

Supplement on Feinberg’s “Psychological Egoism”

I might be required by my non-egoist morality to make a sacrifice for which I cannot be compensated or pass up a gain so large that passing it up will not be compensated for. Other, less restricted forms of psychological egoism may allow the ultimate goal of a person to include such things as avoiding punishments from oneself or others such as guilt or shame and attaining rewards such as prideself-worth, power or reciprocal beneficial action.


The purpose is to provide circumstances in which egoistic versus altruistic explanations of empathy-induced helping behavior make different predictions about what people will do.

Richard Dawkins offers us some ideas of this sort. The key difference, they contend, is reliability: As a rational egoist, I claim that I ought to maximize the welfare of one person myself.

Rational egoism faces objections from arbitrariness, Nagel, Parfit, and evolutionary debunking. I both deny and am committed to affirming that others ought to maximize my good.

One issue concerns how much ethical egoism differs in content from standard moral theories. For example, Thorndike’s law of effect states that behaviors associated with pleasantness will be learned and those pychological with pain will be extinguished. This allows for action that fails to maximize perceived self-interest, but rules out the sort of behavior psychological egoists like to target — such as altruistic behavior or motivation by thoughts of duty alone.

Joel Feinberg, Psychological Egoism – PhilPapers

But that reply does not defend egoism from the charge of falsity. Lincoln was allegedly arguing that we are all ultimately self-interested when he suddenly stopped to save a group of piglets from drowning.

Desiring happiness per se would make no sense if this is what is meant by it. From an evolutionary perspective, Herbert Spencera psychological egoist, argued that all animals primarily seek to survive and protect their lineage. It is most often attributed to only Thomas Hobbes and Jeremy Bentham The altruistic hypothesis also has some of the same problems: With opposed intuitions about when special care is due, the tactic of arguing from intuitions about special care to the grounds of this care is indecisive.