In Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed talking about selfishness. The question was:
Should I use the term “selfish” in conversation without explanation? According to Ayn Rand, selfishness means acting for your own long-range life and happiness, and that’s moral and proper. Yet most people think that selfishness means brutalizing other people, lying and cheating to satisfy your desires, or at least acting like an insensitive jerk. Should I avoid using the term unless I can explain what I mean by it? And how can I best explain its proper meaning?
My answer, in brief:
When speaking to other people, make sure that you’re actually communicating what you mean to them. Most often, that will require explaining what you mean by “selfishness” or using another term.
Here’s the video of my full answer:
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