Statesboro, GA, USA
If you wish to read more about these three types, you can find them here
Thanks. I have read quite a bit about egoism already. I'm not unfamiliar with what you've presented.
You will find nowhere where there are emphatic absolutes or demands stated. By the way, "stemming from self-interest" is not synonymous with having self-interest as the only gola or purpose.
self interest is the only goal or purpose = an absolute.
And as to your distinction between actions "stemming from self interest" versus "having self interest as the only goal or purpose", it is only semantical. Mind explaining the difference to me, if you're saying there is one? Funny I'm just as comfortable using your statement as mine, when describing egoism.
Your stand on/against Ayn Rand confuses me. As a self-stated student of philosophy you have done a lot of reading, quoting a variety of names and quotes. You acknowledge that you have not read much or studied Ayn Rand
Really the reason I haven't read much Rand, is because I haven't wanted to. I have read enough to know that her philosophy is egoism repackaged for more contemporary people. If it makes you feel more comfortable, you could consider that my criticisms are not against Ayn Rand, per se, but against egoism, which is the basis of her philosophy.
and yet you will quote others as fact and dismiss her or try to point out the flaws of this person you are so unfamiliar with.
If you think I've tried to point out personal flaws, rather than doubtful philosophy, then you haven't been reading very closely.
Your negative comments on her philosophy you are not that familiar with makes one wonder why?
It wouldn't be quite accurate to say I am not familiar with her philosophy if I am familiar with egoism. But again, if it makes you feel better to consider what I say a critique of egoism (and objectivism only so far as it includes egoism) then fine.
What have I said to my wife more times than I can count? I love you. Perhaps you have said that, too. What is the subject of that sentence? Why, it's I! and you are describing how you feel.
Okay .... and? The object of the sentence is still your wife. And if my love is, at root, only about myself, then there's a problem. I never said that love wasn't rewarding to self, or that self-interest is not bound up in love. What I'm saying is that it is not ALL there is to it.
You keep pointing out (over and over) that self is an ingredient, which I've never once denied. It's like me arguing that candy bars have chocolate AND sugar rather than chocolate alone, while you keep rebutting me with the fact that they have chocolate.
There was a popular greeting card phrase a while back that went, "I love you for what you make me feel when I'm with you". Well, you would have to call that egoistical, too, wouldn't you?
Um, if that's all there was to it, then yes, I would. There's also the "I love you for who you are" greeting cards. Stands to reason then that both aspects are (or should be) present.
.....because it's a tie they hate? Because they think "You shouldn't have...." and really mean it? Because someone really screwed up? I'd wager a large sum that 95% of the time that someone says that it means they hate the thought or action presented.
So which is it the thought (intention), or the action? You just slurred these together, but really you need to make a distinction to make sense of this little saying we all sometimes say around Christmas.
If you ever got a terrific gift from your wife and said "It's the thought that counts, dear", her reply would be...WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT???
Of course it would be. That's why you would never say that to her. "It's the thought that counts" is something we typically say to ourselves to check any self-absorbed disappointment. I never said there couldn't be something wrong with the gift, or the act itself, only that motive is often as (if not more) important in our minds. Yeah I may be disappointed that my grandmother got me that tacky shirt, but as soon as I shake off the selfish disappointment, I realize that she probably did it out of genuine love.
No, Stephanos, I've never claimed to be a pure egoist or anything of the kind.
I'm not into personal labels.
Hey i didn't make the label. I'm only speaking of whether the philosophy is tenable.
I'm simply saying that I agree that thoughts and actions stem from self-interest
Let me ask a clarifying question ... one you've seemed to be slipping all around but not really addressing:
Are you saying that you agree that ALL thoughts and actions stem from self-interest ALONE? Or, do you think that all other-directed acts have ONLY self interest as their motivation?
Before you answer, remember that I'm not asking whether self-interest is a part of all human action, so don't remind me of that. I asked a very specific question.
and when those actions are handled rationally and morally and do not infringe on the rights of others
Of course I agree with that (not believing egoism is tenable)
But assuming egoism is true, why wouldn't "rationally" be enough? Why include "morally"? Egoism makes the distinction between long-term and short-sighted self-interest, but shies away from traditional views of morality altogether.
Egoism has never answered why self-interest can't logically "infringe on the rights of others", apart from dragging along old-fashioned moral censure and approval as a foreign passenger.
The answers ranged from horror to shock to sadness, etc, etc, etc. The teacher said we were all wrong....the first emotion would be relief, a gladness that it hadn't been us. Man, we argued with him over that one! Years later, I acknowledged that he had been right. It may hit and pass so quickly that you don't even realize it was there, but it was.
I have no argument for your teacher either. Only the egoist would tell us that the subsequent emotion (sorrow at a friend's demise) must be due Soley for what he could have done for us in the future ... just as self-centered as the first emotion.
So I have no argument against the statement that we tend to think of self first. I only argue against the statement that that's what we're thinking of always, only in disguised forms.
If you concede that you may have genuine sorrow for your friend's life, even some time after the initial relief for your own escape, then you are not talking about egoism. I would call that "mutualism", the middle path between altruism and egoism.
Our "superior" teachers have, over the years, proclaimed that egoism and selfish and self-centered is evil so many times that people come to beleive it and condemn it and, sadder still, develope a feeling of self-disgust for having it. These are people that politicians and priests love. They are so easy to control.
I've never heard a moral teacher (in religious context, or otherwise) who didn't take for granted self-interest, or self concern. Even Jesus said "Love your neighbor as yourself" ... (though not 'when you love your neighbor you're really loving yourself) What I typically hear in good moral instruction is that self may be given too much prominece at improper times and create what is commonly known as "selfishness". It's not "absence" versus "presence", but "enough" versus "excess". It's ironic you should point out corrupt politicians and religious leaders, whose main criticism in popular culture has been their selfishness, whether that means being overly concerned with power, position, money, or fame.
[This message has been edited by Stephanos (06-13-2007 08:32 PM).]