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What Is Psychological Egoism?

Objections to psychological egoism

The most obvious objection to psychological egoism is that there are numerous clear examples of people putting others' interests before their own.

Although psychological egoists think they can explain seemingly virtuous actions, their theory rests on a false account of human motivation. The fact that someone feels virtuous after performing a good deed may be true, but it is often just a side effect of their action. They didn't necessarily do it in order to get those feelings.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

What Is Psychological Egoism?

What Is Psychological Egoism?

https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-psychological-egoism-3573379

thoughtco.com

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Key Ideas

Psychological egoism

It is the theory that all our actions are motivated by self-interest.

The view is endorsed by philosophers such as Tomas Hobbes and Friedrich Nietzsche.

The self-interested action

A self-interested action is one that is motivated to serve your own interest. You drink water because you have an interest in quenching your own thirst. You show up for work because you have an interest in being paid.

Psychological egoists think they can explain actions that do not seem self-interested. A motorist who stops to help someone who has broken down may believe that they too may need help one day.

Objections to psychological egoism

The most obvious objection to psychological egoism is that there are numerous clear examples of people putting others' interests before their own.

Although psychological egoists think they can explain seemingly virtuous actions, their theory rests on a false account of human motivation. The fact that someone feels virtuous after performing a good deed may be true, but it is often just a side effect of their action. They didn't necessarily do it in order to get those feelings.

Selfish vs. selfless action

  • A selfish action sacrifices someone else's interests for their own. For example, grabbing the last slice of cake.
  • An unselfish action is where you place another person's interests ahead of your own. For example, you offer someone the last piece of cake, even though you'd like it for yourself. If you get satisfaction out of helping others, that sort of desire is unselfish.

Why psychological egoism is appealing

  • It satisfies our preference for simplicity. In science, we favour theories that explain several phenomena by showing them to all be controlled by the same force. Newton's theory of gravity gives one principle to explain a falling apple.
  • It offers a seemingly cynical view of human nature. It appeals to our concern not to be naive.

To the critics, the theory is too simple. Being hard-headed is not a virtue if it means ignoring contrary evidence. Most of us have a natural concern for others, perhaps because we are social beings by nature.

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Dale Carnegie

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Dale Carnegie
Handling People
  • Don’t criticize, condemn or complain. People learn faster and retain knowledge more effectively when rewarded for good behavior than punished for bad behavior.
  • Give honest and sincere appreciation. The only way to get a person to do anything is by giving them what they want.
  • Arouse in the other person an eager want. The only way to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.
Appreciation and flattery
  • Flattery is selfish and insincere. It’s cheap praise. You tell the other person precisely what he thinks about himself.
  • Appreciation is unselfish and sincere. It happens when we stop thinking about ourselves and begin to think of the other person’s good points.

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Proaction and the “possible you”

Proaction is the “possible you” that:

  • spots and prevents problems
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Proaction Principles
  • Think well ahead.
  • Make sure your decisions suit your own values and interests.
  • Think strategically.
  • Proaction requires not just thinking but doing.
  • Learn and adapt rapidly through trial and error.
  • Grit matters, but you also need to learn along the way and adjust.
About Consciousness
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Consciousness is everything you experience - taste, pain, love, feeling. Where these experiences come from is a mystery.

Many modern analytic philosophers of mind either d...

Searching For Physical Footprints

What is it about brain matter that gives rise to consciousness? In particular, the neuronal correlates of consciousness (NCC) - the minimal neuronal mechanisms jointly sufficient for any conscious experience.

Consider this question: What must happen in your brain for you to experience a toothache?

Neuronal Correlates of Consciousness (NCC)

The whole brain can be considered an NCC because it generates experience continually.

  • When parts of the cerebellum, the "little brain" underneath the back of the brain, are lost to a stroke or otherwise, patients may lose the ability to play the piano, for example.  But they never lose any aspect of their consciousness. This is because the cerebellum is almost wholly a feed-forward circuit. There are no complex feedback loops.
  • The spinal cord and the cerebellum are not enough to create consciousness. Available evidence suggests neocortical tissue in generating feelings.
  • The next stages of processing are the broad set of cortical regions, collectively known as the posterior hot zone, that gives rise to conscious perception. In clinical sources of causal evidence, stimulating the posterior hot zone can trigger a diversity of distinct sensations and feelings.
  • It appears that almost all conscious experiences have their origin in the posterior cortex. But it does not explain the crucial difference between the posterior regions and much of the prefrontal cortex, which does not directly contribute to subjective content.

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