8 months ago
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  • 8 months ago


    -No matter how selfless your actions end up being, they are still routed in an original axiom

    -This original axiom is almost always self-interested. It usually rests upon bringing you happiness, or doing what you think is best. It always services you.

    -Everything you do is based upon a self-interested axiom

    -Everything you do is selfish

    -Criticizing other moral systems for being selfish or self-interested is hypocritical.

  • 8 months ago

    I agree with your analysis up to a point. At a fundamental level, we have no choice to to be at least self-satisfying in some fashion.

    That said, there are degrees of selfishness that become very problematic in society and even for the individual due to social interaction. I think when such views create a lot of problems for people, they are in need of some criticism.

    So a kind of strict hedonism that says its fine to steal from people, rape them, etc... is selfish in a way that is very different from someone who donates to charity so they feel like a good member of society.

    Sure, both are self motivated in some way, but one is helping others while the other is damaging others. And I think we can say that selfish desires that harm others are "more selfish" as they only include considerations of self as where the other includes both self and others.

    • 8 months ago

      @sigfried I think you can criticize a thief or a rapist for being immoral without calling them selfish. We can also call an action selfish, which I think can use a different definition than what I'm referring to here.

      Yes, I'm fine with calling an action selfish I think, in that it immorally benefits you to everyone else's detriment. I think we can agree on two different levels of selfishness.

      However, calling a self-interested belief system that doesn't detriment me in any way besides being too self-interested doesn't seem very productive to me.

    • 8 months ago

      @pseudonym Ya, I do tend to see self-interested as a more benign word than selfish.

  • 8 months ago

    I agree that criticizing someone's moral system for being "selfish" or "self-interested" is stupid, but I also believe that in an intellectual conversation or debate, it can be an important factor in *how* you talk to analyze the extent to which their "selfish" or "self-interested" moral system affects their world-view and actions. I, at least, would absolutely debate an interpretivist differently than I would a pragmatist.