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PHIL 1200 (33)
Chapter 16

PHIL 1200 Chapter 16: Topic 29

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PHIL 1200
David R.Hampton

c78R ‘Sure, it seems that people often behave altruistically. But I do not see any reason why they have to. A person is under no obligation to do anything other than what is in his own interests.’ A standard reply to the ethical egoist: Ethical egoism cannot be universally adopted (at least this is not what the egoist wants). The egoist wants others to be altruists (this would serve his interests best, after all). But, in that case, egoism cannot be a moral theory: it is inconsistent because it cannot be universalized, and theories have to be universal. Rachels does not think that the egoists’ position is inconsistent. But he does think it is mistaken. What Rachels thinks the egoist is getting wrong: Morality does not require a justification for avoiding harm beyond the fact that this hurts others. The fact that there might not be any further justification than this does not mean that there is no r
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