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psychological egoism and thomas hobbes

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Ethics Lecture September 19, 2011 Psychological Egoism • Humans can only act from self-regarding motives • Types of proof: o Desire-fulfilment: o Hedonism: helping someone actually makes us feel better o Nature/Self-preservation: we are programmed to pursue our self-preservation [Hobbes] we are biologically wired this way • If we were only interested in preserving our life and health, then we wouldn’t smoke Hobbes argument • Believer in the psychological and the normative claim • Everyone naturally wants their own self-preservation • However, my self-preservation and advancement are incompatible with the self-preservation and advancement of everyone • I act only in such a way as to further my own self-preservation and advancement [psychological egoism] • I ought to do this because it keeps me alive [ethical egoism] • When everybody does this, it is war of all against all • War of all against all is bad for everyone • I ought to enter civil society so as to better protect my own interests • We act nicely to others only to preserve the civil law that protects our own interests [psychological egoism again] Hobbes argument continued • Article 2: we like some people and not others; this must be because the
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