Q&A Radio: 6 October 2013, Question 2
I answered a question on psychological egoism on 6 October 2013. You can listen to or download the podcast of just this question below – or check out the whole episode of Philosophy in Action Radio.
Isn't every action selfish, ultimately? Unless coerced, people act however they deem best at that moment. Even if that action is harmful to themselves, aren't they acting selfishly, so as to satisfy their own desires? Even paragons of altruism act because they want to help people, please God, or save the environment: that's what makes them happy. So isn't true, deep-down altruism impossible?
My Answer, In Brief: Psychological egoism is false: actions are motivated, but not always self-interested. Psychological egoism completely incompatible with ethical egoism – and false. (Note: I was wrong to claim that psychological egoism is deterministic.)
- Duration: 10:45
- Download: MP3 Segment (3.7 MB)
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- "Isn't Everyone Selfish?" Nathaniel Branden in The Virtue of Selfishness
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About Philosophy in Action
I'm Dr. Diana Brickell (formerly Diana Hsieh). I'm a philosopher, and I've long specialized in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I completed my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. I retired from work as a public intellectual in 2015.
From September 2009 to September 2015, I produced a radio show and podcast, Philosophy in Action Radio. In the primary show, my co-host Greg Perkins and I answered questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life. We broadcast live over the internet on Sunday mornings.
My first book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck." My second book (and online course), Explore Atlas Shrugged, is a fantastic resource for anyone wishing to study Ayn Rand's epic novel in depth.
I can be reached via e-mail to [email protected].