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The term ethical egoism has been applied retroactively to philosophers such as Bernard de Mandeville and to many other materialists of his generation, although none of them declared themselves to be egoists.

Note that materialism does not necessarily imply egoism, as indicated by Karl Marx , and the many other materialists who espoused forms of collectivism. It has been argued that ethical egoism can lend itself to individualist anarchism such as that of Benjamin Tucker , or the combined anarcho-communism and egoism of Emma Goldman , both of whom were proponents of many egoist ideas put forward by Max Stirner.

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In this context, egoism is another way of describing the sense that the common good should be enjoyed by all. However, most notable anarchists in history have been less radical, retaining altruism and a sense of the importance of the individual that is appreciable but does not go as far as egoism. Recent trends to greater appreciation of egoism within anarchism tend to come from less classical directions such as post-left anarchy or Situationism e.

Raoul Vaneigem. Egoism has also been referenced by anarcho-capitalists , such as Murray Rothbard. Philosopher Max Stirner , in his book The Ego and Its Own , was the first philosopher to call himself an egoist, though his writing makes clear that he desired not a new idea of morality ethical egoism , but rather a rejection of morality amoralism , as a nonexistent and limiting "spook"; for this, Stirner has been described as the first individualist anarchist.

Other philosophers, such as Thomas Hobbes and David Gauthier , have argued that the conflicts which arise when people each pursue their own ends can be resolved for the best of each individual only if they all voluntarily forgo some of their aims—that is, one's self-interest is often best pursued by allowing others to pursue their self-interest as well so that liberty is equal among individuals.

Justice and Self-Interest

Sacrificing one's short-term self-interest to maximize one's long-term self-interest is one form of " rational self-interest " which is the idea behind most philosophers' advocacy of ethical egoism. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche suggested that egoistic or "life-affirming" behavior stimulates jealousy or " ressentiment " in others, and that this is the psychological motive for the altruism in Christianity. Sociologist Helmut Schoeck similarly considered envy the motive of collective efforts by society to reduce the disproportionate gains of successful individuals through moral or legal constraints, with altruism being primary among these.

Aristotle 's view is that we have duties to ourselves as well as to other people e. The same is true for Thomas Aquinas , Christian Wolff and Immanuel Kant , who claim that there are duties to ourselves as Aristotle did, although it has been argued that, for Aristotle, the duty to one's self is primary. Ayn Rand argued that there is a positive harmony of interests among free, rational humans, such that no moral agent can rationally coerce another person consistently with his own long-term self-interest. Rand argued that other people are an enormous value to an individual's well-being through education, trade and affection , but also that this value could be fully realized only under conditions of political and economic freedom.

The Theory of Moral Sentiments

According to Rand, voluntary trade alone can assure that human interaction is mutually beneficial. Philosopher David L. Norton identified himself an "ethical individualist", and, like Rand, saw a harmony between an individual's fidelity to his own self-actualization, or "personal destiny", and the achievement of society's well being. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Ethical position that moral agents should act in their own self-interest. For other forms of egoism, see Egoism. Topics and concepts.

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John Allison on Strategy, Profits, and Self-Interest 5/7/2007

August 24, Archived from the original on December 2, Retrieved Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The clash within civilizations: coming to terms with cultural conflicts. Psychology Press. Ancient Philosophy. Many of its supporters apparently think its truth is self-evident, so that arguments are not needed. Ethical egoism does not bother itself with how others receive charity, irrespective of how degraded it makes them feel. The same reasoning applies to the previous two bullets, which use self-interest as a means to the end of beneficence, rather than for its own purposes, as the theory would dictate.

Journal of Business Ethics. Eine Theorie der Gesellschaft Envy. A Theory of Social Behaviour , , 1st English ed.

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