Psychological Egoism

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By amandayellen22
Words 1910
Pages 8
Amanda Yellen
Mr. Rowe

Psychological Egoism

In this paper I will argue against psychological egoism. More specifically, I will argue against hedonistic psychological egoism, a popular form of psychological egoism. Hedonistic psychological egoism is the view that the ultimate motive for human action is the desire to experience pleasure or avoid pain. I will begin by contrasting psychological egoism with ethical egoism. I will then discuss arguments that support psychological egoism, and refute those arguments using Rachels’ and Feinberg’s view’s against the theory. I will conclude by arguing that psychological egoism is implausible as it is incapable of being falsified, and fails to distinguish critical terms proposed in the theory.
I will begin by defining psychological egoism. Psychological egoism is the view that people always act according to their self-interest. According to this view, our only intrinsic desires are desires for the advancement of our own self-interest. But we can still have instrumental desires for other things. Instrumental desires are desires that you have only because you believe that satisfying that desire will help you satisfy some other desire. For example, I may desire to write this paper only because I believe that by writing this paper I will get a good grade, and I desire to get a good grade; I don’t intrinsically desire to write this paper.
Now that I have defined psychological egoism, I will contrast the theory with ethical egoism. Psychological egoism and ethical egoism differ in that psychological egoism is a descriptive view of human motivation stating that humans act to fulfill their wants and desires. For example, if Bob wanted to eat a hamburger, an explanation for this action would be that he had the desire to do so, and acted to fill that desire. Ethical egoism is a normative view stating that humans ought to seek…...

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