Philosophy Feinberg's Criticism of Egoism

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Philosophy Feinberg's Criticism of Egoism
2014-02-03 22:16:43
Feinberg criticism egoism ethics

feinberg ethics
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  1. psychological egoism
    doctrine that the only thing that anyone is capable of desiring or pursuing ultimately is own self interest
  2. Arguments that support egoism
    A. My actions are based on my motives/desires
    • Therefore all of my actions are selfish 
    • voluntary actions = selfish
  3. Arguments that support egoism
    B. When I get what I want (even if it seems selfless on the surface) I get pleasure
    Therefore If I feel pleasure, my action is selfish
  4. Arguments that support egoism
    C. Self deception. We sometimes deceive ourselves
    • Therefore we always deceive ourselves 
    • ie. bag of apples, pull 1 out it's rotten, 2 out rotten, 3 rotten all rotten?
  5. Arguments that support egoism
    D. Moral Education. The way we learn good or bad is via rewards and punishments (best interest).
    Therefore morality is selfish
  6. Critique of argument # 1
    analytic statement cannot entail synthetic statement
    • analytic - all bachelors are unmarried men. therefore
    • synthetic - all bachelors are lonely 

    not true by definition, need empirical evidence
  7. conclusion of argument # 1
    (analytic, synthetic)
    • every action is caused by a selfish motive (analytic)
    • therefore it is selfish (synthetic)

    not motive but rather core purpose that makes it selfish
  8. Critique of Argument #2
    1. false premise
    premise is not true. getting what you want does not entail pleasure (ie eating cake on diet feel guilty/sick)
  9. Critique of Argument # 2 
    2. ok lets assume that there is a connection between getting what you want and feeling pleasure
    • 2. Still doesn't lead to purpose. (ie car going from A to B. uses fuel to move, but does not move to burn fuel).
    • Purpose not determined by things constantly joined together
  10. Story of lincoln and the pigs
    • Lincoln - no unselfish actions
    • Other passenger - there are unselfish actions 

    Lincoln saves piglets, passenger says that's unselfish! Lincoln goes but it was b/c I wouldn't have piece of mind
  11. Critique of Argument # 2 
    3. Disinterested Benevolence (Lincoln and the pigs)
    Feinburg disagrees with Lincoln. pleasure shows action is unselfish 

    Lincoln A - you should stop suffering, care, for things etc --> stops. has preexisting belief thus gets pleasure as a consequence

    Lincoln B - doesn't care --> keeps going. Doesn't have preexisting belief
  12. Critique of Argument # 2 
    4. Disinterested Malevolence 
    ie revenge
    Ex Husband is wealthy banker. Hides money. Claims he's broke. In jail for contempt about the money 

    Ex wife has to start all over and work way up. Shoots accomplice and everyone else to throw police off. Tries to ruin husbands life at cost of her, not in her best interest
  13. Critique of Argument # 3
    Generalization of argument is not wrong but inconclusive
    we sometimes deceive ourselves, we always deceive ourselves

    need more empirical evidence (bad apples)
  14. Critique of Argument # 4 
    Paradox of hedonism
    way to happiness is to forget about it (happiness is by product not something you can pursue)
  15. Critique of Argument # 4
    Moral education
    rewards and punishments are good starting points but not complete

    need to take away root w/i the person to be genuine morality (when people do what is right not because it's popular or safe but because they believe in it) 

    ie forced to play the piano
  16. An ambiguous concept
    psychological hedonism - rests upon the concept of pleasure which is AMBIGUOUS

    • 1. pleasure as sensation (opposites of bad feeling). people don't act just b/c of this
    • 2. pleasure as satisfaction. If true then there is infinite regress (all men desire only satisfaction. of what. desire. of what. satisfaction. of what. desires)
  17. 4 arguments that support egoism
    • 1. my actions are based on my motives and desires so its selfish
    • 2. when I get what I want, I get pleasure so its selfish
    • 3. self deception 
    • 4.moral education so morality is selfish
  18. 4 arguments against egoism
    • 1. analytic can't have synthetic statment
    • 2.false premise -no connection between pleasure and what you want, but lets assume it does. disinterested benevolence/malevolence
    • 3. generalization of argument isn't wrong but inconclusive
    • 4.moral education. paradox of hedonism