Is Selfishness Immoral?

 
Rami Rustom
 
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Rami Rustom
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Joined  10-09-2012
 
 
 
27 October 2012 17:42
 

Why do people think selfishness is immoral? Its because they have a zero-sum worldview. They believe that conflicts of interest are unchangeable. They believe that the result of conflicts is inevitably that someone loses while the other wins. In this context, a selfish person is interested in himself winning, and he doesn’t care that the other person loses.


These people also believe that altruism is good. They believe that one *must* sacrifice his own interests, in order for the other person to get what he wants.


But the zero-sum worldview is wrong. The rival theory, non-zero-sum, is the correct theory. Conflicts of interest are not inherent facts about nature. People in a conflict (*any* conflict) *can* reach a common preference such that no one loses. They all win.


People with the non-zero-sum worldview believe that selfishness is good. In this context, a selfish person is interested in himself winning, and he expects the other person to win too, and he tries to make it happen. So both people get what they want—a common preference.


These people believe that altruism is bad. They believe that they don’t have to sacrifice their interests in order for the other person to get what they want.


There is an objective morality about every conflict, an objectively better choice—namely one that allows everyone to get what they want. To say that selfishness must be at the expense of others is to deny that *all problems are soluble*, specifically moral problems.


Ayn Rand called this view Rational Selfishness. So Rational Selfishness is selfishness with a non-zero-sum worldview. The immoral type of selfishness is Irrational Selfishness, which is selfishness with a zero-sum worldview.

 
thisispointless
 
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thisispointless
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12 December 2012 14:21
 

We can never be anything other than selfish. Since every action at its core is always an attempt to travel to a place of less suffering.
So if someone gives all their money to charity then the pain of giving everything away must be imagined to be smaller than the current pain experienced by not helping others.

The only way i see around this is to get enlightened.  because if ones sense of self is felt to be the entire universe, selfishness becomes the greatest good.

 
 
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Hypersoup
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25 January 2013 11:21
 

Nice op but what about pareto optimality (a state of affairs where you cant make anyone better off without making someone worse off)?

 
 
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Hypersoup
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25 January 2013 11:25
 

Pointless i think that you are equivocating basic selfishness (psychology) with moral selfishness (philosophy). And the op may be equivocating moral selfishness (uncaring self interest at anothers expense) with rational self interest which can be compassionate.

 
 
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boagie
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10 May 2013 22:19
 

Well to begin with there is no such thing as objective morality or objective meaning period. True selfishness is selfish indeed, and probably irrational. Civilization, society is founded upon an expanded concept the self, when one identifies with the self in another, compassion arises depending of course on that self’s plight. Without this process from identification with
another self to the rise of compassion and thus the formation of morality, civilization/society itself could not be. This process is not unique to humans.

Note: All meaning is the property of the subject/consciousness and never the property of the world as object. The world as object is utterly meaningless and has meaning only when it is bestowed upon it by a subject , as the subjects self-interested investment in its on going relation to the world as object.

[ Edited: 11 May 2013 19:24 by boagie]