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Psychological Egoism

In Hugh LaFollette & Ingmar Persson (eds.), The Blackwell Guide to Ethical Theory. pp. 148-168 (2013)

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  1. Nozick’s Experience Machine and Palliative Care: Revisiting Hedonism. [REVIEW]Y. Michael Barilan - 2009 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 12 (4):399-407.
    In refutation of hedonism, Nozick offered a hypothetical thought experiment, known as the Experience Machine. This paper maintains that end-of-life-suffering of the kind that is resistant to state-of-the-art palliation provides a conceptually equal experiment which validates Nozick’s observations and conclusions. The observation that very many terminal patients who suffer terribly do no wish for euthanasia or terminal sedation is incompatible with motivational hedonism. Although irreversible vegetative state and death are equivalently pain-free, very many people loath the former even at the (...)
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  • Butler's Stone.John J. Tilley - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (4): 891–909.
    Early in the eleventh of his Fifteen Sermons, Joseph Butler advances his best-known argument against psychological hedonism. Elliott Sober calls that argument Butler’s stone, and famously objects to it. I consider whether Butler’s stone has philosophical value. In doing so I examine, and reject, two possible ways of overcoming Sober’s objection, each of which has proponents. In examining the first way I discuss Lord Kames’s version of the stone argument, which has hitherto escaped scholarly attention. Finally, I show that Butler’s (...)
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  • Why the Empirical Study of Non-philosophical Expertise Does not Undermine the Status of Philosophical Expertise.Theodore Bach - 2019 - Erkenntnis 86 (4):999-1023.
    In some domains experts perform better than novices, and in other domains experts do not generally perform better than novices. According to empirical studies of expert performance, this is because the former but not the latter domains make available to training practitioners a direct form of learning feedback. Several philosophers resource this empirical literature to cast doubt on the quality of philosophical expertise. They claim that philosophy is like the dubious domains in that it does not make available the good, (...)
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  • Fichte and Hegel on Recognition.James Alexander Clarke - 2009 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 17 (2):365-385.
    In this paper I provide an interpretation of Hegel’s account of ‘recognition’ (Anerkennung) in the 1802-3 System of Ethical Life as a critique of Fichte’s account of recognition in the 1796-7 Foundations of Natural Right. In the first three sections of the paper I argue that Fichte’s account of recognition in the domain of right is not concerned with recognition as a moral attitude. I then turn, in section four, to a discussion of Hegel’s critique and transformation of Fichte’s conception (...)
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  • Butler’s Stone and Ultimate Psychological Hedonism.Peter Nilsson - 2013 - Philosophia 41 (2):545-553.
    This paper discusses psychological hedonism with a special reference to the writings of Bishop Butler, and Elliot Sober and David Sloan Wilson. Contrary to philosophical orthodoxy, Sober and Wilson have claimed that Butler failed to refute psychological hedonism. In this paper it is argued: (1) that there is a difference between reductive and ultimate psychological hedonism; (2) that Butler failed to refute ultimate psychological hedonism, but that he succeeded in refuting reductive psychological hedonism; and, finally and more importantly, (3) that (...)
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  • A Defense of Basic Prudential Hedonism.Joe Nelson - 2020 - Dissertation, Duke University
    Prudential hedonism is a school of thought in the philosophy of welfare that says that only pleasure is good for us in itself and only pain is bad for us in itself. This dissertation concerns an especially austere form of prudential hedonism: basic prudential hedonism (BPH). BPH claims that all pleasure is good for us in itself, and all pain is bad for us in itself, without exception; that all pleasures feel fundamentally alike, as do all pains; and that the (...)
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  • Hutcheson's Theological Objection to Egoism.John J. Tilley - 2016 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 14 (1):101-123.
    Francis Hutcheson's objections to psychological egoism usually appeal to experience or introspection. However, at least one of them is theological: It includes premises of a religious kind, such as that God rewards the virtuous. This objection invites interpretive and philosophical questions, some of which may seem to highlight errors or shortcomings on Hutcheson's part. Also, to answer the questions is to point out important features of Hutcheson's objection and its intellectual context. And nowhere in the scholarship on Hutcheson do we (...)
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  • Francis Hutcheson and John Clarke on Desire and Self-Interest.John J. Tilley - 2019 - The European Legacy 24 (1): 1-24.
    Among the most animating debates in eighteenth-century British ethics was the debate over psychological egoism, the view that our most basic desires are self-interested. An important episode in that debate, less well known than it should be, was the exchange between Francis Hutcheson and John Clarke of Hull. In the early editions of his Inquiry into Virtue, Hutcheson argued ingeniously against psychological egoism; in his Foundation of Morality, Clarke argued ingeniously against Hutcheson’s arguments. Later, Hutcheson attempted new arguments against psychological (...)
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