Psychological egoism is the theory that self-interest is the only motive from which anyone ever acts. This is a challenge to morality because morality involves taking into account the interests of others. Today's video breaks down objections to psychological egoism raised by James Rachels.
Rachels identifies two arguments thought to support psychological egoism. The first argument involves the claim that all acts are selfish because the person performing the acts always does what she most wants to do. Rachels raises two objections to this argument.
The second argument for egoism I've dubbed The Rolling Stones argument. All acts are selfish because they aim at the person's self-satisfaction. People always try to attain satisfaction (i.e., a pleasant state of mind). Rachels objects to this argument as well.
This is the first part of the 8th episode of the Exploring Ethics Series. Watch a video version of this post below or scroll past the video to read the blog post.
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