?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Selfishness - Omnia mutantur, nihil interit.
October 11th, 2004
05:54 pm
[User Picture]

[Link]

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Selfishness

(13 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:kenoubi
Date:October 11th, 2004 08:58 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Ssh, you're hurting my point. :-) (That being that certain generous actions might be rational even if they aren't motivated by the expectation of some particular reciprocation.)

Hey, I drank a couple of your beers within the 2 hours before that, right? Don't worry about it. I do think ledgers have their place, but sometimes I prefer not having to keep score.
[User Picture]
From:katieboyd
Date:October 11th, 2004 11:10 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Oops. Sorry. Nope. No score. You're right. I just like to make sure I show appreciation to those who do me favors.
[User Picture]
From:papertygre
Date:October 12th, 2004 05:36 am (UTC)

Showin' off my philosophy chops

(Link)
So, Hume's rebuttal of Hobbes's idea of human nature is that people obviously don't act in ways that are motivated by material self-interest. (Hume argues that there is a kind of "natural benevolence," whereas Hobbes thinks that left to their own devices, humans would devolve into a nasty and brutish existence.) But, don't humans have needs and kinds of self-interest that aren't only material - that are, say, psychological?

Is that the kind of point you are trying to make here?
[User Picture]
From:kenoubi
Date:October 12th, 2004 06:00 am (UTC)

Re: Showin' off my philosophy chops

(Link)
No, that's true, but orthogonal to what I was trying to say, which is more like the distinction between act-utilitarianism and rule-utilitarianism. Now, strictly speaking I think that you can either treat act-utilitarianism as a special case of rule-utilitarianism (with the only rule being “Do what produces the most benefit”) or rule-utilitarianism as a special case of act-utilitarianism (in which one of the actions is the formation of a rule). However, in pragmatic terms, it makes a difference which schema one uses to describe his values.

The specific desire to have a relationship in which one doesn't keep a ledger of who owes whom interacts with this in an interesting way—it actively interferes with the implementation of what most would think of as act-utilitarianism. (How can one assess whether a particular act benefits one if one isn't keeping score?)

(Also, as is probably obvious, I'm talking about egocentric utilitarianism here. Altruistic utilitarianism is more common in the literature, but I don't find it very interesting. The calculi are pretty much the same other than the whole “intersubjective incomparability of values” issue with altruistic utilitarianism.)
Omnia mutantur, nihil interit Powered by LiveJournal.com