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Egoism

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2008)

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  1. Egoism and Emotion.Michael Slote - 2013 - Philosophia 41 (2):313-335.
    Recently, the idea that human beings may be totally egoistic has resurfaced in philosophical and psychological discussions. But many of the arguments for that conclusion are conceptually flawed. Psychologists are making a conceptual error when they think of the desire to avoid guilt as egoistic; and the same is true of the common view that the desire to avoid others’ disapproval is also egoistic. Sober and Wilson argue against this latter idea on the grounds that such a desire is relational, (...)
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  • Evolutionary Debunking Arguments.Guy Kahane - 2011 - Noûs 45 (1):103-125.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments are arguments that appeal to the evolutionary origins of evaluative beliefs to undermine their justification. This paper aims to clarify the premises and presuppositions of EDAs—a form of argument that is increasingly put to use in normative ethics. I argue that such arguments face serious obstacles. It is often overlooked, for example, that they presuppose the truth of metaethical objectivism. More importantly, even if objectivism is assumed, the use of EDAs in normative ethics is incompatible with a (...)
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  • Psychological and Evolutionary Evidence for Altruism.Alejandro Rosas - 2002 - Biology and Philosophy 17 (1):93-107.
    Sober and Wilson have recently claimed that evolutionary theory can do what neither philosophy nor experimental psychology have been able to, namely, "break the deadlock" in the egoism vs. altruism debate with an argument based on the reliability of altruistic motivation. I analyze both their reliability argument and the experimental evidence of social psychology in favor of altruism in terms of the folk-psychological "laws" and inference patterns underlying them, and conclude that they both rely on the same patterns. I expose (...)
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  • Egoism, Empathy, and Self-Other Merging.Joshua May - 2011 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (s1):25-39.
    [Emerging Scholar Prize Essay for Spindel Supplement] Some philosophers and psychologists have evaluated psychological egoism against recent experimental work in social psychology. Dan Batson (1991; forthcoming), in particular, argues that empathy tends to induce genuinely altruistic motives in humans. However, some argue that there are egoistic explanations of the data that remain unscathed. I focus here on some recent criticisms based on the idea of self-other merging or "oneness," primarily leveled by Robert Cialdini and his collaborators (1997). These authors argue (...)
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  • Moral Writings.H. A. Prichard - 2002 - Oxford University Press.
    This is the definitive collection of the ethical work of the great Oxford moral philosopher H. A. Prichard (1871-1947). Prichard is famous for his ethical intuitionism: he argued that moral obligation cannot be reduced to anything else, but is perceived by direct intuition. The essays previously included in the posthumous collection Moral Obligation are now augmented by a selection of previously unpublished writings from Prichard's manuscripts, allowing for the first time a full view of his distinctive contribution to moral philosophy, (...)
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  • Unto Others.David Sloan Wilson & Elliott Sober - 2002 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65 (3):692-696.
    Altruism has both an evolutionary and a psychological meaning. As the term is used in evolutionary theory, a trait is deemed altruistic if it reduces the fitness of the actor and enhances the fitness of someone else. In its psychological sense, the thesis that we have altruistic ultimate motives asserts that we care about the welfare of others, not just as a means of enhancing our own well-being, but as an end in itself. In Unto Others (hereafter UO), we consider (...)
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  • Relational Desires and Empirical Evidence Against Psychological Egoism.Joshua May - 2011 - European Journal of Philosophy 19 (1):39–58.
    Roughly, psychological egoism is the thesis that all of a person's intentional actions are ultimately self-interested in some sense; psychological altruism is the thesis that some of a person's intentional actions are not ultimately self-interested, since some are ultimately other-regarding in some sense. C. Daniel Batson and other social psychologists have argued that experiments provide support for a theory called the "empathy-altruism hypothesis" that entails the falsity of psychological egoism. However, several critics claim that there are egoistic explanations of the (...)
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  • On What Matters: Volume Three.Derek Parfit - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Derek Parfit presents the third volume of On What Matters, his landmark work of moral philosophy. Parfit develops further his influential treatment of reasons, normativity, the meaning of moral discourse, and the status of morality. He engages with his critics, and shows the way to resolution of their differences.
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  • An Empirical Basis for Psychological Egoism.Michael Anthony Slote - 1964 - Journal of Philosophy 61 (18):530-537.
    In the present paper I wish to argue that psychological egoism may well have a basis in the empirical facts of human psychology. Certain contemporary learning theorists, e.g., Hull and Skinner, have put forward behavioristic theories of the origin and functioning of human motives which posit a certain number of basically "selfish, " unlearned primary drives or motives (like hunger, thirst, sleep, elimination, and sex), explain all other, higher-order, drives or motives as derived genetically from the primary ones via certain (...)
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  • Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
    Challenging, with several powerful arguments, some of our deepest beliefs about rationality, morality, and personal identity, Parfit claims that we have a false view about our own nature. It is often rational to act against our own best interersts, he argues, and most of us have moral views that are self-defeating. We often act wrongly, although we know there will be no one with serious grounds for complaint, and when we consider future generations it is very hard to avoid conclusions (...)
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  • Perfectionism and the Common Good: Themes in the Philosophy of T. H. Green.David O. Brink - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
    David Brink presents a study of T. H. Green's Prolegomena to Ethics (1883), a classic of British idealism. Green develops a perfectionist ethical theory that brings together the best elements in the ancient and modern traditions and that provides the moral foundations for Green's own influential brand of liberalism. Brink's book situates the Prolegomena in its intellectual context, examines its main themes, and explains Green's enduring significance for the history of ethics and contemporary ethical theory.
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  • Hobbesian Moral and Political Theory.Gregory Kavka - 1986 - Princeton University Press.
    In fact, it requires two major social institutions--morality and government--working in a coordinated fashion to do so. This is one of the main themes of Hobbes's philosophy that will be developed in this book.
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  • In Defence of Weak Psychological Egoism.Mark Mercer - 2001 - Erkenntnis 55 (2):217-237.
    Weak psychological egoism is the doctrine that anything an agent does intentionally, that agent does at least expecting thereby to realize one of her self-regarding ends. (Strong psychological egoism, by contrast, is the doctrine that agents act always intending thereby to realize a self-regarding end.) Though weak psychological egoism is a doctrine ultimately answerable to empirical evidence, we presently have excellent a priori reasons for accepting it and attempting to construct psychological theories that include it as an organizing principle. These (...)
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  • Nagelian Arguments Against Egoism.Stuart Rachels - 2002 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 80 (2):191 – 208.
    On ethical egoism, the fact that I would suffer is no reason by itself for you not to torture me. This may seem implausible—monstrous, even—but what evidence can we offer against it? Here I examine several arguments which receive some expression in Thomas Nagel’s work. Each tries to show that a normative reason to end my pain is a reason for all agents. The arguments in Section 1 emphasize reasons that don’t entail agents and thus purportedly apply to all agents. (...)
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  • An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals. [REVIEW]David Hume - 1957 - Hume Studies 26 (2):344-346.
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  • The Point of View of the Universe: Sidgwick and Contemporary Ethics.Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek & Peter Singer - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    What does the idea of taking 'the point of view of the universe' tell us about ethics? Lazari-Radek and Singer defend objectivism in ethics, and hedonistic utilitarianism, following Henry Sidgwick's lead. They explore how to justify an ethical theory; conflicts of self-interest and universal benevolence; and whether we should discount the future.
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  • Nothing Matters in Survival.Torin Alter & Stuart Rachels - 2005 - The Journal of Ethics 9 (3-4):311-330.
    Do I have a special reason to care about my future, as opposed to yours? We reject the common belief that I do. Putting our thesis paradoxically, we say that nothing matters in survival: nothing in our continued existence justifies any special self-concern. Such an "extreme" view is standardly tied to ideas about the metaphysics of persons, but not by us. After rejecting various arguments against our thesis, we conclude that simplicity decides in its favor. Throughout the essay we honor (...)
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  • Taking Egoism Seriously.Keith Burgess-Jackson - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):529-542.
    Though utilitarianism is far from being universally accepted in the philosophical community, it is taken seriously and treated respectfully. Its critics do not dismiss it out of hand; they do not misrepresent it; they do not belittle or disparage its proponents. They allow the theory to be articulated, developed, and defended from criticism, even if they go on to reject the modified versions. Ethical egoism, a longstanding rival of utilitarianism, is treated very differently. It is said to be “refuted” by (...)
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  • Fifteen Sermons Preached at the Rolls Chapel.Joseph Butler - 1726 - Hilliard & Brown.
    Fifteen Sermons Preached at the Rolls Chapel are a great collection of sermons by Joseph Butler, the famous English theologian and philosopher.
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  • Altruism in Humans.C. Daniel Batson - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
    Altruism in Humans takes a hard-science look at the possibility that we humans have the capacity to care for others for their sakes rather than simply for our own. Based on an extensive series of theory-testing laboratory experiments conducted over the past 35 years, this book details a theory of altruistic motivation, offers a comprehensive summary of the research designed to test the empathy-altruism hypothesis, and considers the theoretical and practical implications of this conclusion. Authored by the world's preeminent scholar (...)
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  • Sidgwickian Ethics.David Phillips - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
    Introduction -- Sidgwick's metaethics -- Sidgwick's moral epistemology -- Utilitarianism versus dogmatic intuitionism -- Utilitarianism versus egoism.
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  • The Beloved Self: Morality and the Challenge From Egoism.Alison Hills - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
    The Beloved Self is about the holy grail of moral philosophy, an argument against egoism that proves that we all have reasons to be moral. Part One introduces three different versions of egoism. Part Two looks at attempts to prove that egoism is false, and shows that even the more modest arguments that do not try to answer the egoist in her own terms seem to fail. But in part Three, Hills defends morality and develops a new problem for egoism, (...)
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  • The Moral Point of View: A Rational Basis of Ethics.Kurt Baier - 1958 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
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  • The Altruism Question: Toward a Social Psychological Answer.C. Daniel Batson - 1991 - Lawerence Erlbaum.
    Are our efforts to help others ever driven solely by altruistic motivation, or is our ultimate goal always some form of self- benefit (egoistic motivation)? This volume reports the development of an empirically-testable theory of altruistic motivation and a series of experiments designed to test that theory. It sets the issue of egoism versus altruism in its larger historical and philosophical context, and brings diverse experiments into a single, integrated argument. Readers will find that this book provides a solid base (...)
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  • Morals by Agreement.David Gauthier - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
    Is morality rational? In this book Gauthier argues that moral principles are principles of rational choice. He proposes a principle whereby choice is made on an agreed basis of cooperation, rather than according to what would give an individual the greatest expectation of value. He shows that such a principle not only ensures mutual benefit and fairness, thus satisfying the standards of morality, but also that each person may actually expect greater utility by adhering to morality, even though the choice (...)
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  • Passions Within Reason: The Strategic Role of Emotions.Robert H. Frank - 1988 - Norton.
    In this book, I make use of an idea from economics to suggest how noble human tendencies might not only have survived the ruthless pressures of the material world, but actually have been nurtured by them.
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  • Principia Ethica.G. E. Moore - 1903 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 13 (3):7-9.
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  • Sidgwick and the Rationale for Rational Egoism.David Brink - 1992 - In Bart Schultz (ed.), Essays on Henry Sidgwick. Cambridge University Press.
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  • Leviathan.Thomas Hobbes - 2006 - In Aloysius Martinich, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Early Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell.
    Thomas Hobbes took a new look at the ways in which society should function, and he ended up formulating the concept of political science. His crowning achievement, Leviathan, remains among the greatest works in the history of ideas. Written during a moment in English history when the political and social structures as well as methods of science were in flux and open to interpretation, Leviathan played an essential role in the development of the modern world. This edition of Hobbes' landmark (...)
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  • Human Concerns Without Superlative Selves.Mark Johnston - 1997 - In J. Dancy (ed.), Reading Parfit. Blackwell. pp. 149--79.
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  • The Myth of Egoism.Christine Korsgaard - 1999 - In Peter Baumann & Monika Betzler (eds.), Practical Conflicts: New Philosophical Essays. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 57.
    This is the text of The Lindley Lecture for 1999, given by Christine Korsgaard, an American philosopher.
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  • Evolutionary Debunking, Moral Realism and Moral Knowledge.Russ Shafer-Landau - 2012 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 7 (1):1-38.
    This paper reconstructs what I take to be the central evolutionary debunking argument that underlies recent critiques of moral realism. The argument claims that given the extent of evolutionary influence on our moral faculties, and assuming the truth of moral realism, it would be a massive coincidence were our moral faculties reliable ones. Given this coincidence, any presumptive warrant enjoyed by our moral beliefs is defeated. So if moral realism is true, then we can have no warranted moral beliefs, and (...)
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  • The Reconciliation Project.Gregory Kavka - 1984 - In David Copp & David Zimmerman (eds.), Morality, Reason and Truth. Totowa, NJ: pp. 297-319.
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  • Ethics.William Frankena - 1967 - Philosophy of Science 34 (1):74-74.
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  • The Truth in Psychological Egosim.Hugh LaFollette - 1988 - In Joel Feinberg (ed.), Reason and Responsibility (7th Edition).
    Mother Teresa spends her life caring for the poor and the infirm; J. Paul Getty, Jr., spends his life making investments and directing corporations. Although we might be unhappy doing what they do, we assume they are satisfied. Mother Teresa enjoys her work and would be miserable if she had to mastermind corporate takeovers. Getty would be wretched if he had to care for lepers or become a lawn chair salesman.
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  • Evolution and Impartiality.Guy Kahane - 2014 - Ethics 124 (2):327-341.
    Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek and Peter Singer argue that evolutionary considerations can resolve Sidgwick’s dualism of practical reason because such considerations debunk moral views that give weight to self-interested or partial considerations but cannot threaten the principle of universal benevolence. I argue that even if we grant these claims, this appeal to evolution is ultimately self-defeating. De Lazari-Radek and Singer face a dilemma. Either their evolutionary argument against partial morality succeeds, but then we need to also give up our conviction that (...)
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  • Psychological Egoism.Joel Feinberg - 1978 - In Russ Shafer-Landau & Joel Feinberg (eds.), Reason and Responsibility. Wadsworth. pp. 183.
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  • The Reliability of Moral Intuitions: A Challenge From Neuroscience.Folke Tersman - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (3):389 – 405.
    A recent study of moral intuitions, performed by Joshua Greene and a group of researchers at Princeton University, has recently received a lot of attention. Greene and his collaborators designed a set of experiments in which subjects were undergoing brain scanning as they were asked to respond to various practical dilemmas. They found that contemplation of some of these cases (cases where the subjects had to imagine that they must use some direct form of violence) elicited greater activity in certain (...)
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  • From Rationality to Equality.James P. Sterba - 2014 - The Journal of Ethics 18 (3):239-241.
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  • A Short Refutation of Ethical Egoism.Richmond Campbell - 1972 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 2 (2):249 - 254.
    The theory I want to refute is sometime called Impersonal Ethical Egoism : the view that everyone ought to do what will benefit him the most in any given situation. It might be thought that this view can be distinguished from Personal Ethical Egoism : the view that I ought to do what will benefit me the most in any given situation. But to whom does “I” refer in PEE? To any person who states the view? And is the view (...)
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  • Neutral and Relative Value After Moore.Michael Smith - 2003 - Ethics 113 (3):576-598.
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  • The Methods of Ethics.Henry Sidgwick - 1890 - International Journal of Ethics 1 (1):120-121.
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  • Self-Love and Altruism.David O. Brink - 1997 - Social Philosophy and Policy 14 (1):122-157.
    Whether morality has rational authority is an open question insofar as we can seriously entertain conceptions of morality and practical reason according to which it need not be contrary to reason to fail to conform to moral requirements. Doubts about the authority of morality are especially likely to arise for those who hold a broadly prudential view of rationality. It is common to think of morality as including various other-regarding duties of cooperation, forbearance, and aid. Most of us also regard (...)
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  • The Present-Aim Theory of Rationality.Shelly Kagan - 1986 - Ethics 96 (4):746-759.
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  • The Argument From Psychological Egoism to Ethical Egoism.Terrance C. McConnell - 1978 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 56 (1):41-47.
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  • The View from Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 92 (2):280-281.
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  • Egoism as a Theory of Human Motives.C. D. Broad - 1949 - Hibbert Journal 48:105-114.
    Now it is plain that such consequences as these conflict sharply with common-sense notions of morality. If we had been obliged to accept Psychological Egoism, in any of its narrower forms, on its merits, we should have had to say: 'So much the worse for the common-sense notions of morality!' But, if I am right, the morality of common sense, with all its difficulties and incoherences, is immune at least to attacks from the basis of Psychological Egoism.
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  • Rational Egoism (R. Shafer-Landau).Robert Shaver - 2000 - Philosophical Books 41 (1):60-61.
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