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Title:Egoism: Arguments for and against it from western philosophy
Author(s):Blackwood, Dennis Michael
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Wengert, Robert G.
Department / Program:Philosophy
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:Egoism is the doctrine that one ought to act only for self-interested reasons. I shall be concerned with the presupposition of egoism: acting only for self-interested reasons is in one's long-term interest. I shall be concerned with this presupposition's truth with respect only to cases in which one's interests conflict with those of others. So I shall be concerned with this affiliated egoistic doctrine (call it the 'doctrine of advantage'); in cases of conflict between one's interests and those of others, acting only for self-interested reasons tends to be in one's long-term interest. With respect to conflict of interests' cases, I refer to one's best all-things-considered interests at the time. However, no one or few people know accurately their actual, all-things-considered, long-term interests and perhaps few their all-things-considered immediate interests. Also, by 'advantage', I refer both to the acquisition of Moorean-type intrinsic goods and common naturalistic goods like wealth, power, pleasure, etc. By 'naturalistic goods', I mean some human ends considered valuable by reasons reducible to natural selection and, possibly, social conventions. I also assume that conflicts of interests occur regularly throughout everyone's lifetime, owing to different human needs and wants, scarcity of resources, etc.
I shall have two tasks in this dissertation: (1) to detail and explain chronologically the main arguments for and against egoism and, specifically, the doctrine of advantage from the Western tradition until and including the eighteenth century discussions; (2) to classify these arguments. I shall not concern myself with theological arguments concerning the rewards and punishments in the hereafter. I shall only be concerned with arguments with respect to earthly types of advantages and disadvantages.
Issue Date:1995
Rights Information:Copyright 1995 Blackwood, Dennis Michael
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9522081
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9522081

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