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Who Came Up With Psychological Egoism? (SOLVED)

Psychological egoism is the thesis that we are always deep down motivated by what we perceive to be in our own self-interest 🙈Psychological altruism, on the other hand, is the view that sometimes we can have ultimately altruistic motives 🤓 Suppose, for example, that Pam saves Jim from a burning office building. What ultimately motivated her to do this? It would be odd to suggest that it’s ultimately her own benefit that Pam is seeking. After all, she’s risking her own life in the process. But the psychological egoist holds that Pam’s apparently altruistic act is ultimately motivated by the goal to benefit herself, whether she is aware of this or not. Pam might have wanted to gain a good feeling from being a hero, or to avoid social reprimand that would follow had she not helped Jim, or something along these lines. [1]
In philosophy, egoism is the theory that one’s self is, or should be, the motivation and the goal of one’s own action. Egoism has two variants, descriptive or normative. The descriptive (or positive) variant conceives egoism as a factual description of human affairs. That is, people are motivated by their own interests and desires, and they cannot be described otherwise. The normative variant proposes that people should be so motivated, regardless of what presently motivates their behaviourr. Altruism is the opposite of egoism. The term “egoism” derives from “ego,” the Latin term for “I” in English. Egoism should be distinguished from egotism, which means a psychological overvaluation of one’s own importance, or of one’s own activities. [2]
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Based upon further reading from plato.stanford.edu, egoism can be a descriptive or a normative position. Psychological egoism, the most famous descriptive position, claims that each person has but one ultimate aim: her own welfare. Normative forms of egoism make claims about what one ought to do, rather than describe what one does do. Ethical egoism claims I morally ought to perform some action if and only if, and because, performing that action maximizes my self-interest. Rational egoism claims that I ought to perform some action if and only if, and because, performing that action maximizes my self-interest. (Here the “ought” is not restricted to the moral “ought”.) [3]
Qcc.cuny.edu goes on to explain that one thing that philosophers of science, and many scientists themselves agree upon, is that if a theory is a genuine scientific theory, then even if it cannot be proven (demonstrated without doubt to be true), then at least this must be so: the theory must be able to be falsified. In other words, we must be able to set up some experiments by which to say, “well, if the theory “A” is true, then it is impossible for “Y” to occur.” So, we experiment to see if “Y” occurs when “A” says it cannot occur. And if it occurs, then “A” cannot be true, and we need to come up with a better theory. There must be some type of evidence or argument that could count against it. (edited by Logan O. From Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on November 13, 2021) [4]
New data shows how against this, though, the critic can argue that the distinction we all make between selfish and unselfish actions (and people) is an important one. A selfish action is one that sacrifices someone else’s interests to my own: e.g. I greedily grab the last slice of cake. An unselfish action is one where I place another person’s interests above my own: e.g. I offer them the last piece of cake, even though I’d like it myself. Perhaps it is true that I do this because I have a desire to help or please others. In that sense, I could be described, in some sense, as satisfying my desires even when I act unselfishly. But this is exactly what an unselfish person is: namely, someone who cares about others, who wants to help them. The fact that I am satisfying a desire to help others is no reason to deny that I am acting selflessly. On the contrary. That’s exactly the sort of desire that unselfish people have. [5]

Article References

  1. https://iep.utm.edu/psychego/
  2. https://iep.utm.edu/egoism/
  3. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/egoism/
  4. https://www.qcc.cuny.edu/socialsciences/ppecorino/ethics_text/Chapter_5_Teleological_Theories_Egoism/Psychological_Egoism.htm
  5. https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-psychological-egoism-3573379
Kelly-Anne Kidston

Written by Kelly-Anne Kidston

I am a writer of many words, from fiction to poetry to reviews. I am an avid reader and a lover of good books. I am currently writing my first novel and would love to find some beta readers who are interested in getting an early look.

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