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What is objectivism? (Ayn Rand style)

  • reality exist independent of minds
  • we have direct context with reality through perception
  • the moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's happiness or rational self-interest
    • this is the part where people have a problem


What is egoism?

  • selfish
  • self-centered
  • Two dimensions:
    • Descriptive
      • the way persons DO behave
    • Normative
      • the way persons OUGHT to behave


What is the descriptive component to egoism? This is called psychological egoism.

  • The empirical/descriptive view that people always do that which maximizes their happiness of self-interest


What are the two different types of moral egoism?

  1. Individual moral egoism
  2. Universal moral egoism


What is individual moral egoism?

  • the normative view that everyone should do that which maximizes the happiness or self-interest of a specific person: X
    • someone else


What is universal moral egoism?

  • the normative view that everyone should do that which maximizes his or her own happiness of self-interest


What does Plato's Republic say about moral egoism?

  • Talking about the origin and nature of justice
    • NOT defending moral egoism
    • Gyges vs. Glaucon
    • Justice emerges as a compromise between the best kind of life (to do injustice without being punished) and the worst kind of life (to do suffer injustice without retaliation)


Who is Thomas Hobbes?

  • british
  • rejected free will in favor of determinism
  • father of modern political philosophy
  • originated social contract theory
  • materialist/scientist/philosopher
  • The Leviathan (1651) & Of Liberty and Necessity (1654)


In what way are all "men" equal according to Hobbes?

  • All men tend to think of themselves as wise
    • they overestimate their own wisdom


How does Hobbes characterize human life in the "state of nature"?

  • every man does what he wants to do.
  • every man for himself
  • there is no:
    • industry
    • culture
    • building
    • knowledge
    • arts
    • letters
    • society
  • You need a strong monarch to prevent people of living in the state of nature


According to Hobbes, what is required to bring humans out of the state of nature?

  • mutual covenants: the social contract
  • to prevent anyone from doing whatever they want to do, and to enforce them by means of a powerful monarch
  • Justice emerges as a compromise by people who recognize its not in our self-interest to do that which makes them happy, at least not all the time.
    • there are some people doing things and other other things


Who is Louis Pojman?

  • American
  • ethics, philosophy of religion, etc.


What are Pojman's three types of egoism?

  • Personal egoism
  • individual ethical egoism
  • universal ethical egoism


What is personal (psychological) egoism?

state of being selfish by choice


What is individual ethical egoism?

moral rightness is defined solely in terms of what is good for me


What is universal ethical egoism?

everyone ought to do whatever will maximize one's own expected utility or bring about one's own happiness.


What are Pojman's attempted refutations of egoism?

  1. Publicity argument
  2. Paradox of egoism


What is the Publicity argument?

  • If you say everyone OUGHT to do this, it will affect one's own well -being and happiness.
  • "it would be self-defeating for the egoist to argue for her position, and even worse that she should convince others of it."


What is the paradox of egoism?

  • "in order to reach the goal of egoism (happiness), one must give up egoism and become (to some extent) an altruist."