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.

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Joel Feinberg, Psychological Egoism – PhilPapers

Hedonism, which identifies self-interest with pleasure, is either a preference or psychologicwl objective account, according to whether what counts as pleasure is determined by one’s desires.

If, say, I break my promises whenever it is in my direct self-interest to do so, others will not accept my promises, and may even attack me. Hackett, seventh edition,II.

Operant conditioning works through reinforcement and punishment which adds or removes pleasure and pain to manipulate behavior. He argues that there is at least pzychological a basis for psychological egoism in behavioristic theories of learning, championed especially by psychologists such as B.

By Edward Jarvis Bond. One might appeal to introspection or common sense; but neither is particularly powerful. The third argument for the thesis [near total self-deception] is unlikely: Sign in to use this feature. In one sense, this is true. A broadly Humean account of motivation and ethics that covers, among others things, some issues at the intersection of egoism and biology see ch. This is repeated until, finally, the dog sits without requiring a biscuit.

A major theoretical attraction of psychological egoism is parsimony. Reprinted in part in RaphaelVol. This egoistic picture is entirely compatible with Butler’s claims about presupposition. Suppose that F 3 has a memory of F 2 ‘s experiences but no memory of F 1. It recommends to A that A go to the game, and to B that B go to the game, but is silent on the value of A and B both attending the game.


Many of these constraints are met by ethical egoism — the formal constraints, for example, that moral claims must be prescriptive and universalizable. Second, if psychological egoism is false, I might lack a preference for my own welfare. The same seems to go for rational egoism: Normative forms of egoism make claims about what one ought to do, rather than describe what one does do. 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.

The thought experiment is designed to test the limits of our tolerance for harmless but deeply offensive forms of behavior. Mirror Sites View this site from another server: The pluralistic model, however, is comparatively less complicated since it can just deploy an ultimate desire to help:. Some of the acts involve affronts to the senses e. So, while the ethical egoist claims that being self-interested in this way is moral, the psychological egoist merely holds that this is how we are.

Moreover, there is a growing body of evidence gathered by developmental psychologists indicating that young children have a natural, unlearned concern for others.

Parfit gives two main arguments against rational egoism. This might seem to directly support psychological egoism because it shows that we are all out to satisfy our own desires compare Hobbes.

Psychological egoism

Only by letting go of the desire to enjoy winning a game is she able to enjoy the pleasure of winning a game It may be true that happiness is all that is valuable in many of these cases, but this does not entail that the ends of our desires is always happiness, though it may often be a by-product. After all, we typically do not experience pleasure upon getting something like food unless we want it.

Parfit’s view is that psychological connection and continuity both ground special care, if special care is grounded at all. Other moral judgments would be excluded since it would be impossible to motivate anyone to follow them.


I do not, for example, think the reason I have a duty to help a drowning child is that helping benefits me Prichard 1, 9, 26, 29, 30, They intend an empirical theory that, like other such theories, it is at least possible to refute by observation. If I act as if I give no weight to others, others will not cooperate with me.

Joel Feinberg

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Perhaps with the philosophical and empirical arguments taken together we can declare substantial progress. There are two problems for this reply. The divergence between ethical egoism and standard moral theories appears in other ways.

Themes in the Philosophy of T. Originally published psychologicall In this case, there is simply no time to experience positivity toward one’s actions, although a psychological egoist may argue that the soldier experiences moral positivity in knowing that he is sacrificing his life to ensure the survival of his comrades, or that he is avoiding negativity associated with the thought of all his comrades dying.

And we typically motivate people by appealing to their self-interest through, for example, punishments and rewards. He ultimately attempts to give a more Humean defense of altruism, as opposed to the more Kantian defenses found in Thomas Nagel, for example. The main problem here is that while this is a possible account of some cases, there is no reason to think it covers all cases.

The difference is that rational egoists aim at psychologcial, and for putative knowledge, in cases of disagreement between epistemic peers, suspension of belief is required.

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