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In this course Professor Saul Newman (Goldsmiths University) explores ethical egoism: the normative theory which claims that moral actions ought to be motivated by self-interest. In the first module we introduce ethical egoism, and distinguish egoism from other normative and descriptive theories. Then, we examine the contrast between psychological egoism and ethical egoism, and look at the key proponents of these respective positions. In the third module, we introduce Max Stirner: the 19th century German philosopher, and author of The Ego and Its Own. We then move on to look at Stirner’s philosophy of egoism, and the key themes in his major work The Ego and Its Own. In the fifth module, we raise some challenges to ethical egoism, and explore Stirner’s responses to these challenges. Finally, we turn our attention to the application of ethical egoism, and how egoism might manifest itself both in individual and political life.
In this module, we introduce ethical egoism: a normative theory which claims that human action ought to be motivated by the pursuit of self-interest. We focus in particular on; (i) the nature of self-interest as a motivation for moral action (ii) the distinction between egoism and altruism (iii) the distinction between descriptive egoism and ethical egoism.
Goldsmiths, University of London