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Intro to Phil. Theories

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Simon Fraser University
Sam Black

th September 12 , 2012 – Intro to Theories 1 Psychological Egoism  Always act in self-interest  What people do, not how they should act  About human nature  “Scientific” claim  Descriptive ethics  People look out for themselves first  We act morally only because we want to feel good about ourselves  Lincoln was a psychological egoist o “I did it to get peace of mind, don’t you see?”  Cannot disprove it Problems: Counter example:  Weird to say sacrificing yourself to save people from a bomb is desirable  Being rational vs. rationalization o Being rational – making excuses o Rationalization – impartial / objective  Redefine motives – no way to verify it = no meaning to it o Unfalsifiable  any good theory should be falsifiable (it’s empty if it’s unfalsifiable) Confuses results with the aim:  Aim to work hard on a farm and you get in shape from it, end up feeling good about it o Stronger = the result or by-product of your original aim o Aim = to work hard on farm  Satisfaction was not the aim Ethical Egoism  Ought to pursue one’s own self-interest  Doesn’t mean you can do anything; act logically  Doesn’t say you can’t help people – don’t help others = they won’t help you Problems: 1. Uses people as tools 2. Endorses bad actions  consequences are too morally horrifying th S
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