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Ethical Egoism

  1. Oct 7, 2004 #1
    Does Ethical egoism requires we have the kind of disposition which is incompatible with our having a healthy personality.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 7, 2004 #2
    That depends on whether the version of Ethical Egoism you're talking about is sophisticated or naive. Suppose an ethical egoist realizes that he will be most happy if he has nourishing, intimate relationships, and is able to pursue his ends in cooperation with others. Suppose, further, that he thereby endeavors to cultivate within himself certain virtues, such as honesty and compassion (because they are necessary pre-conditions for achieving the goods above). This sophisticated egoist may indeed have a healthy personality, even though the ultimate reason he develops such a personality is to pursue his self-interest.
  4. Oct 8, 2004 #3


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    What part of ethical egoism is not the same as might makes right?
  5. Oct 8, 2004 #4
    None of it. Ethical egoism is not synonymous with the doctrine "whatever you can do is morally permissible to do." Ethical egoism is the doctrine that you ought to do what is in your self-interest. The use of force, even to gain something that you want, may not actually be in your self-interest, hence it may not be permissible according to ethical egoism. The question is: Are there any rational constraints on self-interest?
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