David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Philosophy 61 (18):530-537 (1964)
In the present paper I wish to argue that psychological egoism may well have a basis in the empirical facts of human psychology. Certain contemporary learning theorists, e.g., Hull and Skinner, have put forward behavioristic theories of the origin and functioning of human motives which posit a certain number of basically "selfish, " unlearned primary drives or motives (like hunger, thirst, sleep, elimination, and sex), explain all other, higher-order, drives or motives as derived genetically from the primary ones via certain "laws of reinforcement," and, further, deny the "functional autonomy" of those higher-order drives or motive. Now it is a hotly debated issue in contemporary Learning Theory whether any theory such as we have described briefly above could adequately explain adult human behavior. I shall, however, argue only that a theory of the above kind may well be true, and that from such a theory, fortified only by one additional psychological premise, the truth of egoism (non-altruism) logically follows. I hope to show, thereby, that the question of psychological egoism is still an open empirical issue, however fallacious be the philosophical arguments for it.
|Keywords||Analytic Philosophy Contemporary Philosophy|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Joshua May (2011). Egoism, Empathy, and Self-Other Merging. Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (s1):25-39.
Michael Slote (2013). Egoism and Emotion. Philosophia 41 (2):313-335.
Similar books and articles
Mark Mercer (2001). In Defence of Weak Psychological Egoism. Erkenntnis 55 (2):217-237.
W. D. Glasgow (1978). Broad on Psychological Egoism. Ethics 88 (4):361-368.
Charles Sayward (2006). What Truth is There in Psychological Egoism? Facta Philosophica 8 (1-2):145-159.
Alexander Moseley, Egoism. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
C. Daniel Batson & Laura L. Shaw (1991). Evidence for Altruism: Toward a Pluralism of Prosocial Motives. Psychological Inquiry 2 (2):107-122.
Joshua May (2011). Relational Desires and Empirical Evidence Against Psychological Egoism. European Journal of Philosophy 19 (1):39–58.
Mark Mercer (1998). Psychological Egoism and Its Critics. Southern Journal of Philosophy 36 (4):557-576.
Joshua May, Psychological Egoism. Internet Encyclopeida of Philosophy.
C. D. Broad (1950). Egoism as a Theory of Human Motives. Hibbert Journal 48:105-114.
Bruce Russell (1982). On the Relation Between Psychological and Ethical Egoism. Philosophical Studies 42 (1):91-99.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads197 ( #16,955 of 1,911,652 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #97,988 of 1,911,652 )
How can I increase my downloads?