Upgrade to Pro — share decks privately, control downloads, hide ads and more …

Egoism

 Egoism

The sixth in a series of slideshows for an ethics course.

2867bb020c276f3785326ea3b8683b29?s=128

GeorgeMatthews

June 11, 2016
Tweet

Transcript

  1. Egoism ethics and selfishness George Matthews CC 2016 Creative Commons,

    attribution CC Jim Matthews
  2. The Ring of Gyges

  3. The Ring of Gyges Gyges was a shepherd who found

    a golden ring in a cave which, he discovered, made him invisible when he wore it. So he put it on, went into the palace of the local king, seduced the queen and together they killed the king and took over the kingdom. From an ancient Persian tale, related by Plato in The Republic.
  4. The Ring of Gyges Gyges was a shepherd who found

    a golden ring in a cave which, he discovered, made him invisible when he wore it. So he put it on, went into the palace of the local king, seduced the queen and together they killed the king and took over the kingdom. From an ancient Persian tale, related by Plato in The Republic. ! If you had such power, would you be able to resist the temptation to be completely selfish?
  5. The Ring of Gyges Gyges was a shepherd who found

    a golden ring in a cave which, he discovered, made him invisible when he wore it. So he put it on, went into the palace of the local king, seduced the queen and together they killed the king and took over the kingdom. From an ancient Persian tale, related by Plato in The Republic. ! If you had such power, would you be able to resist the temptation to be completely selfish? ! Are people inherently selfish and only held in check by our fear of getting caught?
  6. The Philosophy of Selfishness

  7. The Philosophy of Selfishness Psychological Egoism

  8. The Philosophy of Selfishness Psychological Egoism ! We cannot be

    unselfish – ethics places impossible demands on us.
  9. The Philosophy of Selfishness Psychological Egoism ! We cannot be

    unselfish – ethics places impossible demands on us. ! This is a descriptive claim about the way we make decisions and act on them.
  10. The Philosophy of Selfishness Psychological Egoism ! We cannot be

    unselfish – ethics places impossible demands on us. ! This is a descriptive claim about the way we make decisions and act on them. Ethical Egoism
  11. The Philosophy of Selfishness Psychological Egoism ! We cannot be

    unselfish – ethics places impossible demands on us. ! This is a descriptive claim about the way we make decisions and act on them. Ethical Egoism ! We should not be unselfish – ethics places immoral demands on us.
  12. The Philosophy of Selfishness Psychological Egoism ! We cannot be

    unselfish – ethics places impossible demands on us. ! This is a descriptive claim about the way we make decisions and act on them. Ethical Egoism ! We should not be unselfish – ethics places immoral demands on us. ! This is a normative claim about what we should or shouldn’t do.
  13. Rational Animals

  14. Rational Animals To be rational is . . .

  15. Rational Animals To be rational is . . . !

    To have consistent beliefs.
  16. Rational Animals To be rational is . . . !

    To have consistent beliefs. ! To base those beliefs on evidence and logic.
  17. Rational Animals To be rational is . . . !

    To have consistent beliefs. ! To base those beliefs on evidence and logic. ! To have clear and consistent goals.
  18. Rational Animals To be rational is . . . !

    To have consistent beliefs. ! To base those beliefs on evidence and logic. ! To have clear and consistent goals. ! To act in such a way as to effectively realize those goals.
  19. Rational Animals To be rational is . . . !

    To have consistent beliefs. ! To base those beliefs on evidence and logic. ! To have clear and consistent goals. ! To act in such a way as to effectively realize those goals. Does rationality entail selfishness?
  20. Rational Animals To be rational is . . . !

    To have consistent beliefs. ! To base those beliefs on evidence and logic. ! To have clear and consistent goals. ! To act in such a way as to effectively realize those goals. Does rationality entail selfishness? Psychological egoism says “yes.”
  21. An Argument for Psychological Egoism

  22. An Argument for Psychological Egoism My reasons are mine .

    . .
  23. An Argument for Psychological Egoism My reasons are mine .

    . . p1 When I make a decision it can only be for my own reasons – since I make the decision.
  24. An Argument for Psychological Egoism My reasons are mine .

    . . p1 When I make a decision it can only be for my own reasons – since I make the decision. p2 Since these reasons are my reasons they must serve my interests.
  25. An Argument for Psychological Egoism My reasons are mine .

    . . p1 When I make a decision it can only be for my own reasons – since I make the decision. p2 Since these reasons are my reasons they must serve my interests. c So all of my decisions must be selfish decisions.
  26. An Argument for Psychological Egoism My reasons are mine .

    . . p1 When I make a decision it can only be for my own reasons – since I make the decision. p2 Since these reasons are my reasons they must serve my interests. c So all of my decisions must be selfish decisions. This may seem like a reasonable argument.
  27. An Argument for Psychological Egoism My reasons are mine .

    . . p1 When I make a decision it can only be for my own reasons – since I make the decision. p2 Since these reasons are my reasons they must serve my interests. c So all of my decisions must be selfish decisions. This may seem like a reasonable argument. But isn’t there some equivocation going on here?
  28. Another Argument

  29. Another Argument Reinterpreting motives

  30. Another Argument Reinterpreting motives p1 If psychological egoism is true,

    we should be able to find a selfish motive behind every apparently unselfish act.
  31. Another Argument Reinterpreting motives p1 If psychological egoism is true,

    we should be able to find a selfish motive behind every apparently unselfish act. p2 We can in fact find a selfish motive behind every apparently unselfish act.
  32. Another Argument Reinterpreting motives p1 If psychological egoism is true,

    we should be able to find a selfish motive behind every apparently unselfish act. p2 We can in fact find a selfish motive behind every apparently unselfish act. c Thus psychological egoism is true.
  33. Another Argument Reinterpreting motives p1 If psychological egoism is true,

    we should be able to find a selfish motive behind every apparently unselfish act. p2 We can in fact find a selfish motive behind every apparently unselfish act. c Thus psychological egoism is true. Egoism claims to unmask morality as mere sentimentality and offers instead a hard-nosed “realism” about our motives.
  34. Another Argument Reinterpreting motives p1 If psychological egoism is true,

    we should be able to find a selfish motive behind every apparently unselfish act. p2 We can in fact find a selfish motive behind every apparently unselfish act. c Thus psychological egoism is true. Egoism claims to unmask morality as mere sentimentality and offers instead a hard-nosed “realism” about our motives. How does this work out as an argument though – is it even valid?
  35. Hidden Motives?

  36. Hidden Motives? ! Suppose we can find hidden motives behind

    any apparently altruistic act.
  37. Hidden Motives? ! Suppose we can find hidden motives behind

    any apparently altruistic act. People give to charity for tax breaks . . .
  38. Hidden Motives? ! Suppose we can find hidden motives behind

    any apparently altruistic act. People give to charity for tax breaks . . . Heros are after fame and thrills . . .
  39. Hidden Motives? ! Suppose we can find hidden motives behind

    any apparently altruistic act. People give to charity for tax breaks . . . Heros are after fame and thrills . . . Volunteers are padding their resumes . . .
  40. Hidden Motives? ! Suppose we can find hidden motives behind

    any apparently altruistic act. People give to charity for tax breaks . . . Heros are after fame and thrills . . . Volunteers are padding their resumes . . . ! Does it follow that these are the only motives?
  41. Hidden Motives? ! Suppose we can find hidden motives behind

    any apparently altruistic act. People give to charity for tax breaks . . . Heros are after fame and thrills . . . Volunteers are padding their resumes . . . ! Does it follow that these are the only motives? ! Is the claim that there are always such motives falsifiable?
  42. Falsifiability

  43. Falsifiability ! Theories must be testable to be meaningful.

  44. Falsifiability ! Theories must be testable to be meaningful. !

    Testing a theory requires looking for disconfirming instances: trying to falsify it.
  45. Falsifiability ! Theories must be testable to be meaningful. !

    Testing a theory requires looking for disconfirming instances: trying to falsify it. ! If a theory can explain away any disconfirmation it is non-falsifiable, not testable and so meaningless.
  46. Falsifiability ! Theories must be testable to be meaningful. !

    Testing a theory requires looking for disconfirming instances: trying to falsify it. ! If a theory can explain away any disconfirmation it is non-falsifiable, not testable and so meaningless. ! Is psychological egoism thus non-falsifiable since an egoist can always come up with a hidden motive for any altruistic act?
  47. Ethical Egoism

  48. Ethical Egoism So what if we can act unselfishly, what

    if we have good reasons not to?
  49. Ethical Egoism

  50. Ethical Egoism Rand’s Argument

  51. Ethical Egoism Rand’s Argument p1 Individuality is the source of

    all value in human life – it is what distinguishes us from animals.
  52. Ethical Egoism Rand’s Argument p1 Individuality is the source of

    all value in human life – it is what distinguishes us from animals. p2 When you put others first you deny your own value.
  53. Ethical Egoism Rand’s Argument p1 Individuality is the source of

    all value in human life – it is what distinguishes us from animals. p2 When you put others first you deny your own value. c This makes ethics inherently wrong, and shows why selfish action is alone valuable.
  54. Ethical Egoism Rand’s Argument p1 Individuality is the source of

    all value in human life – it is what distinguishes us from animals. p2 When you put others first you deny your own value. c This makes ethics inherently wrong, and shows why selfish action is alone valuable. This argument was offered by the advocate of “the virtue of selfishness” Ayn Rand (1905–1982).
  55. Ethical Egoism Rand’s Argument p1 Individuality is the source of

    all value in human life – it is what distinguishes us from animals. p2 When you put others first you deny your own value. c This makes ethics inherently wrong, and shows why selfish action is alone valuable. This argument was offered by the advocate of “the virtue of selfishness” Ayn Rand (1905–1982). Is there no value in cooperation – is life really a zero sum game?
  56. Ethical Egoism

  57. Ethical Egoism the capitalist’s argument

  58. Ethical Egoism the capitalist’s argument p1 Competition leads to the

    best social outcome: greater wealth, innovation, etc.
  59. Ethical Egoism the capitalist’s argument p1 Competition leads to the

    best social outcome: greater wealth, innovation, etc. p2 The best way to encourage competition is to pursue selfish gain, ignoring the losers.
  60. Ethical Egoism the capitalist’s argument p1 Competition leads to the

    best social outcome: greater wealth, innovation, etc. p2 The best way to encourage competition is to pursue selfish gain, ignoring the losers. c So we are justified in pursuing exclusively private, selfish goals.
  61. Ethical Egoism the capitalist’s argument p1 Competition leads to the

    best social outcome: greater wealth, innovation, etc. p2 The best way to encourage competition is to pursue selfish gain, ignoring the losers. c So we are justified in pursuing exclusively private, selfish goals. But without some intervention in competitive arenas, early winners dominate and undermine competition.
  62. Ethical Egoism the capitalist’s argument p1 Competition leads to the

    best social outcome: greater wealth, innovation, etc. p2 The best way to encourage competition is to pursue selfish gain, ignoring the losers. c So we are justified in pursuing exclusively private, selfish goals. But without some intervention in competitive arenas, early winners dominate and undermine competition. How can an argument for selfishness be based on concern for all of us?!
  63. summary: egoism

  64. summary: egoism claims ! Psychological: we are all inherently selfish.

    ! Ethical: we should all be selfish and should never put others first.
  65. summary: egoism claims ! Psychological: we are all inherently selfish.

    ! Ethical: we should all be selfish and should never put others first. consequences " Psychological: ethics is impossible. " Ethical: ethics is wrong. " Both: selfishness is rational.
  66. summary: egoism claims ! Psychological: we are all inherently selfish.

    ! Ethical: we should all be selfish and should never put others first. consequences " Psychological: ethics is impossible. " Ethical: ethics is wrong. " Both: selfishness is rational. arguments O My reasons are mine. O Reinterpreting motives. O Rand’s argument. O Capitalist’s argument.
  67. summary: egoism claims ! Psychological: we are all inherently selfish.

    ! Ethical: we should all be selfish and should never put others first. consequences " Psychological: ethics is impossible. " Ethical: ethics is wrong. " Both: selfishness is rational. arguments O My reasons are mine. O Reinterpreting motives. O Rand’s argument. O Capitalist’s argument. evaluation  Weak arguments.  Psychological egoism fails as explanation of behavior.  Ethical egoism misses value of helping others.