David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Social Philosophy and Policy 14 (01):207- (1997)
The topic of self-interest raises large and intractable philosophical questions–most obviously, the question “In what does self-interest consist?” The concept, as opposed to the content of self-interest, however, seems clear enough. Self-interest is interest in one's own good. To act self-interestedly is to act on the motive of advancing one's own good. Whether what one does actually is in one's self-interest depends on whether it actually does advance, or at least, minimize the decline of, one's own good. Though it may be difficult to tell whether a person is motivated by self-interest in a particular instance, and difficult also to determine whether a given act or decision really is in one's self-interest, the meaning of the claims in question seems unproblematic. My main concern in this essay is to make a point about the content of self-interest. Specifically I shall put forward the view that meaningfulness, in a sense I shall elaborate, is an important element of a good life. It follows, then, that it is part of an enlightened self-interest that one wants to secure meaning in one's life, or, at any rate, to allow and promote meaningful activity within it. Accepting this substantial conception of self-interest, however, carries with it a curious consequence: the concept of self-interest which formerly seemed so clear begins to grow fuzzy. Fortunately, it comes to seem less important as well. In Reasons and Persons, Derek Parfit distinguishes three sorts of theories about self-interest–hedonistic theories, preference theories, and what he calls “objective-list theories." Hedonistic theories hold that one's good is a matter of the felt quality of one's experiences
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
Aaron Smuts (2013). To Be or Never to Have Been: Anti-Natalism and a Life Worth Living. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice (4):1-19.
Aaron Smuts (2012). The Power to Make Others Worship. Religious Studies 48 (2):221 - 237.
Simon Keller (2009). Welfarism. Philosophy Compass 4 (1):82-95.
Luara Ferracioli & Rosa Terlazzo (2014). Educating for Autonomy: Liberalism and Autonomy in the Capabilities Approach. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (3):443-455.
Jukka Varelius (2013). Pascal's Wager and Deciding About the Life-Sustaining Treatment of Patients in Persistent Vegetative State. Neuroethics 6 (2):277-285.
Similar books and articles
Aaron Smuts (2013). The Good Cause Account of the Meaning of Life. Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):536-562.
Thomas L. Carson (1981). Happiness, Contentment and the Good Life. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 62 (4):378.
Mortimer Jerome Adler (1970/1996). The Time of Our Lives: The Ethics of Common Sense. Fordham University Press.
Fred Feldman (2008). Whole Life Satisfaction Concepts of Happiness. Theoria 74 (3):219-238.
Aaron Smuts (2012). It's a Wonderful Life: Pottersville and the Meaning of Life. Film and Philosophy 16 (1):15-33.
Thaddeus Metz (2009). Happiness and Meaningfulness: Some Key Differences. In Lisa Bortolotti (ed.), Philosophy and Happiness. Palgrave Macmillan. 3-20.
Fred Feldman (2010). What is This Thing Called Happiness? Oxford University Press.
Cheryl Hall (2010). The Habitual Route to Environmentally Friendly (or Unfriendly) Happiness. Ethics, Place and Environment 13 (1):19 – 22.
Hon-Lam Li (2011). On Happiness. World Policy Journal:4-5.
Lisa Bortolotti (ed.) (2009). Philosophy and Happiness. Palgrave MacMillan.
Anthony Kenny (2006). Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Utility: Happiness in Philosophical and Economic Thought. Imprint Academic.
John R. Atherton, Elaine L. Graham & Ian Steedman (eds.) (2010). The Practices of Happiness: Political Economy, Religion and Wellbeing. Routledge.
Hayden Ramsay (2005). Reclaiming Leisure: Art, Sport, and Philosophy. Palgrave Macmillan.
Added to index2010-08-31
Total downloads413 ( #789 of 1,692,195 )
Recent downloads (6 months)61 ( #1,374 of 1,692,195 )
How can I increase my downloads?