Butler’s Argument Against Psychological Hedonism

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 22 (2):211-221 (1992)
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Abstract

It is widely thought among philosophers that Joseph Butler's criticism of psychological egoism in his Sermons is, in the words of A.E. Duncan-Jones, 'the classic refutation of it.' Indeed, no less a philosopher than David Hume restated and put forth Butler's central argument against hedonistic egoism - without due credit - as part of his own critique. Yet recent commentators have begun to question Butler's arguments, albeit usually with sympathy and in the hope of saving what they take to be his insights. I propose to focus on Butler's main objection to hedonistic psychological egoism, to show how and why it fails to refute plausible forms of the thesis, and briefly to indicate why philosophical attempts to disprove this theory of motivation are misguided.

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Citations of this work

Butler's Stone.John J. Tilley - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (4): 891–909.
El egoísmo psicológico.Elliot Sober - 1998 - Isegoría 18:47-70.

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References found in this work

The Methods of Ethics.Henry Sidgwick - 1907 - Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 30 (4):401-401.
Ethics.William Frankena - 1967 - Philosophy of Science 34 (1):74-74.
The reward event and motivation.Carolyn R. Morillo - 1990 - Journal of Philosophy 87 (4):169-186.
John Clarke and Francis Hutcheson on self-love and moral motivation.Robert Michael Stewart - 1982 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 20 (3):261-277.
Mutual benevolence and the theory of happiness.David M. Estlund - 1990 - Journal of Philosophy 87 (4):187-204.

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