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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A two-volume collection of the moral and political writings of British philosophers from around the 17 th Century, including Hobbes, Butler, Hume, and Bentham.

Science Logic and Mathematics. First edition published in The Elements of Moral Philosophy4 th ed. But psychological egoism is a descriptive thesis.

Psychological Egoism

An ethical egoist sees egoism as superior to other moral theories. Whether it is superior depends on the strength of the arguments for it. An ethical egoist might reply by taking the cooperation argument further.

Natural selection sometimes has my desires caused by affect that feniberg produced by a belief rather than directly by the belief my desire feinberh run away from danger is often caused by my fear, rather than by the mere belief that there is danger. For an account of feinber experiment done in reply, favouring Batson, see Stich, Doris and Roedderas well as Batson — In addition, since moralists do want true moral conclusions, and peer disagreement is relevant to pursuing truth, Hills’ moralists both need and cannot by one means pursue truth.

The crucial question becomes: Ethical egoists do best by defending rational egoism instead.

Steinblog: Joel Feinberg: Psychological Egoism

Given the arguments, it is still unclear why we should consider psychological egoism to be obviously untrue. Psychological egoism is false. For discussion of the cooperation argument, see Frank ; Gauthier ch.

One worry is that psychological continuity might substitute for identity. References and Further Reading Batson, C. Ehoism is plausible that, if asked, the soldier would have said that he threw himself on the grenade because he wanted to save the lives of others or because it was his duty.


Joel Feinberg

Perhaps something like utilitarianism is justified as self-evident rather than inferred from some other reasons. Each link in the chain is susceptible to error, which makes the mechanism less reliable at yielding the relevant outcome. Sober and Wilson argue that when evaluating the likelihood of a given trait to evolve, three factors must be considered: Desires for pleasure and the avoidance of pain are paradigmatic ultimate desires, since people often desire these as ends in themselves, not as a mere means to anything else.

This worry makes sense, but if continuity were sufficient for special care, it would not. So it is important to get a clear idea of the competing egoistic versus altruistic theories and of the terms of the debate between them. 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.

Feinberg observes that such arguments for psychological egoism are rarely mounted on the basis of empirical proof when, being psychological, they very well ought to. Even if all of our desires are due to evolutionary adaptations which is a strong claimthis is only the origin of them. To answer this question, Sober and Wilson focus on just one version of egoism, and what they take to be the most difficult to refute: Though Feinberg, who had read and re-read Mill’s classic text many times, [5] shares Mill’s liberal leanings, he thinks that liberals can and should admit that certain kinds of non-harmful but profoundly offensive conduct can also properly be prohibited by law.

Egoism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

David Hume once wrote, “What interest can a fond mother have in view, who loses her health by assiduous attendance on her sick child, and afterwards languishes and dies of grief, when freed, by its death [the child’s], from the slavery of that attendance?


For example, in favour of my point of view, Sidgwick could note that I am an individual rather than a hive-member. A major theoretical attraction of psychological egoism is parsimony. A famous discussion of altruism and related topics.

The only way psychologicla achieve happiness, he believes, is to forget about it, but psychological egoists hold that all human endeavour, even that which achieves happiness, is geared towards happiness.

As we have seen, psychological egoists have a clear account of what would falsify it: By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Hackett, seventh edition,II.

First, the genes that give rise to the mechanism must be available in the pool for selection. Psychological egoism, the most famous descriptive position, claims that each person has but one ultimate aim: Parental care might also be explained on altruistic grounds: However, evidence for this dependence claim has not been forthcoming.

And I do have reason to care specially about other people who bear these connections to me now. Academic Tools How to cite this entry. Analytical jurisprudence Deontological ethics Interpretivism Legalism Legal moralism Legal positivism Legal realism Libertarian theories of law Natural law Paternalism Utilitarianism Virtue jurisprudence.

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. British Moore, George Edward: This would let Parfit keep the conclusion that I need not care specially for some of my future selves, but would not justify the conclusion that I have reason to care specially about other people who are merely connected to me now or are merely admirable.

For example, it would be quite implausible to say that we literally believe we exist eglism two different bodies when feeling empathy for someone. Here Hume is offering a burden-shifting argument.