Digest of terms

egoism

the pursuit of one's own self-interest. A distinction is drawn between psychological and ethical egoism. Psychological egoism is the descriptive view that as a matter of fact what motivates people is their individual self-interest. Ethical egoism is the normative view that this is how people rationally should be motivated. Concern for the interests of others (altruism) is important only as a means to defending or promoting one's own. Critics argue that ethical egoism reduces morality to prudence, and conflicts dramatically with accepted notions of virtues and character - what would remain, for example, of a concept like friendship?

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