© 1988

Self and Others

A Study of Ethical Egoism


Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 196)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages iii-xi
  2. Introduction

    1. Jan Österberg
      Pages 1-8
  3. Preliminary Matters

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 9-9
    2. Jan Österberg
      Pages 11-34
    3. Jan Österberg
      Pages 35-48
    4. Jan Österberg
      Pages 49-68
  4. The Debate on Ethical Egoism

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 69-69
    2. Jan Österberg
      Pages 71-79
    3. Jan Österberg
      Pages 80-99
    4. Jan Österberg
      Pages 100-122
  5. The Assessment of Ethical Egoism

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 123-123
    2. Jan Österberg
      Pages 125-140
    3. Jan Österberg
      Pages 141-155
    4. Jan Österberg
      Pages 156-174
  6. A Last Resort

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 175-175
    2. Jan Österberg
      Pages 177-201
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 251-272

About this book


1. The Aim of This Essay Ethical Egoism, the doctrine that, roughly speaking, one should promote one's own good, has been a live issue since the very beginnings of moral philosophy. Historically, it is the most widely held normative theory, and, next to Utilitarianism, it is the most intensely debated one. What is at stake in this debate is a fundamental question of ethics: 'Is there any reason, except self-interest, for considering the interests of other people?' The ethical egoist answers No to this question, thus rejecting the received conception of morality. Is Ethical Egoism an acceptable position? There are many forms of Ethical Egoism, and each may be interpreted in several different ways. So the relevant question is rather, 'Is there an acceptable version of Ethical It is the main aim of this essay to answer this question. This Egoism?' means that I will be confronted with many other controversial questions, for example, 'What is a moral principle?', 'Is value objective or subjec­ tive?', 'What is the nature of the self?' For the acceptability of most ver­ sions of Ethical Egoism, it has been alleged, depends on what answers are given to questions such as these. (I will show that in some of these cases there is in fact no such dependence. ) It is, of course, impossible to ad­ equately discuss all these questions within the compass of my essay.


Friedrich Nietzsche Thomas Aquinas Thomas Hobbes Utilitarianism concept individual interpret moral philosophy morality nature oral discourse rationality reason semantic subject

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Uppsala UniversitySweden

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Self and Others
  • Book Subtitle A Study of Ethical Egoism
  • Authors Jan Österberg
  • Series Title Synthese Library
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1988
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-90-277-2648-3
  • Softcover ISBN 978-94-010-7796-5
  • eBook ISBN 978-94-009-2879-4
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XI, 272
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Ethics
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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