Self and Others: A Study of Ethical Egoism

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Springer Science & Business Media, 2012 M12 6 - 272 pages
1. The Aim of This Essay Ethical Egoism, the doctrine that, roughly speaking, one should promote one's own good, has been a live issue since the very beginnings of moral philosophy. Historically, it is the most widely held normative theory, and, next to Utilitarianism, it is the most intensely debated one. What is at stake in this debate is a fundamental question of ethics: 'Is there any reason, except self-interest, for considering the interests of other people?' The ethical egoist answers No to this question, thus rejecting the received conception of morality. Is Ethical Egoism an acceptable position? There are many forms of Ethical Egoism, and each may be interpreted in several different ways. So the relevant question is rather, 'Is there an acceptable version of Ethical It is the main aim of this essay to answer this question. This Egoism?' means that I will be confronted with many other controversial questions, for example, 'What is a moral principle?', 'Is value objective or subjec tive?', 'What is the nature of the self?' For the acceptability of most ver sions of Ethical Egoism, it has been alleged, depends on what answers are given to questions such as these. (I will show that in some of these cases there is in fact no such dependence. ) It is, of course, impossible to ad equately discuss all these questions within the compass of my essay.
 

Contents

Acknowledgements
1
A Short History of Ethical Egoism 11
10
Kinds of Ethical Egoism
35
The Interpretation of Strong Egoism
49
Arguments for Ethical Egoism
71
Normative and Semantic Objections
80
Pragmatic and Other Objections
100
The Strong Form of Ethical Egoism 125
124
Weak Forms of Egoism
141
Ethical Egoism and Rationality
156
Collective Egoism
177
Notes
202
Bibliography
240
Index names and subjects
251
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