<ethics> belief that human conduct is governed by self-interest. Psychological egoism holds that all human beings are, as a matter of fact, motivated to act only in pursuit of their own (at least apparent) advantage, never for the sake of others. Ethical egoism is the normative theory that right conduct can be defined in terms of (an enlightened notion of) one's own welfare. Though often held jointly, the distinction between fact and value clearly renders the two views distinct: some might argue that human beings ought to act on their own behalf even though they don't always do so, while others could suppose that they invariably do act selfishly even though they ought not. Recommended Reading: Robert William Shaver, Rational Egoism: A Selective and Critical History (Cambridge, 1998) and Kim-Chong Chong, Moral Agoraphobia: The Challenge of Egoism (Peter Lang, 1996).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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