Thursday, June 10, 2010

Now Get This Straight

Ethical egoism says that people ought to do what is in their own self-interest. Rational egoism says that people should do what is in their own self-interest.  Psychological egoism says that people do only act in their own self-interest.

Got it?


B. von Traven said...

Ethical egoism and psychological egoism are theories or doctrines. Ethical egoism is a "normative" theory that claims to identify the content of morality. PE is an alleged descriptive/empirical theory about the nature of human motivation. But "rational egoism" is not a theory or doctrine any more than, say, "over-cautiousness" is a theory. RE is merely a behavior (namely, pursuit of self-interest in a more-or-less logical fashion) used in models, such as those used by economists and game theoreticians. Dude, you're comparing an apple to two oranges here.

Apex said...

Rational egoism as used by economists is a theory too in that rational egoism behavior does not happen regularly enough to rely on it for predictive modeling. That's why behavioral economics is coming into vogue. We are finding out that the rational actor is mostly a myth because while some people behave rationally some of the time, most of the people don't behave in their rational self interest as often as you might think. They probably think they are, but they don't take the actions that the models would suggest a rational egoism actor would take.

Basically a lot of people are too stupid to behave rationally, and I certainly agree with that.

Director Mitch said...

The point of the post, B, - which you missed - is that it is *funny* that different fields all use the term "egoism", and they each are referring to different things. Yeah, one is in the fields of ethics, one psychology, and so on, but the point was humor.

My next pun is how the term "sublimation" is used by both chemistry and psychology. I bet I get an earful on that.