Quick Answer, "Not relevant.  My wants happen to me whether I ask them to or not. Any action - even inaction is an action - is a response to a want and thus relieves it.  Relieving is a reward in itself.  Satisfying it is another.   I am not free to avoid benefiting myself by dealing with my wants."

Psychological egoism can be understood as you creating your values and thus following yourself when you follow them becomes egotism if you pretend that God is giving you the values or that you honour God with your values.

Psychological egoism says that you want to do what you do under the circumstances and that not wanting to do something means you do want to do it but prefer other options.  According to Joseph Butler psychological egoism is refuted by the alleged fact that your desires cannot be all about you. But if you cannot act unless you find something in it for yourself then helping others despite appearances is about you.

You cannot afford to make it too obvious if it is all about you.  If you do then nobody will help you or care for you and you will self-destruct. So you must want good things for other people in order to be able to fit in and be part of a community that helps you. You have to love football for its own sake in order to get anything out of playing it.  But it is egoism to love money for its own sake.  There is no such thing you love it for your own sake.

Some feel that guilt is about other people not you so refusing to do something bad in case you feel guilty is not selfish or self-centred.  Guilt is about you being the being that hurt them so it is about you. 

People may say that you give money to the starving because you don't want people to starve and not because you want to satisfy your desire to help them. But the only difference between, "I give because I want to help" and "I help because I want to satisfy my desire to help" is in the wording. The meaning is the same. This being the case, our giving is the act of an egoist. You give only because you feel inclined to. You do it for you though others benefit.

Deniers that we are all naturally egoists say, "You may feel good to help the starving.  You feel good.  Your motive is to help.  The feeling doesn't explain the motive. The motive explains the feeling." We have to remember that does not always happen. You cannot call up a feeling by having a motive like a ghost in a séance.  You can be motivated to do good and feel horrible. If you take egoism to mean doing things to satisfy the desire to do them and not how you will feel after then there is no problem. This is the correct understanding of egoism.

Maybe we could say that the first order desire is to help the starving and the second order desire could be to satisfy your desire to help. But how can you know which desire is the strongest - assuming there is a difference between them which there is not? A strong desire and a passion are two different things. You may not realise how much you want something.

It is argued that not all our desires are geared towards self-interest. It is said that hunger is a desire whose object is eating and not your interests. This view says that hunger is a first order desire and self-interest a second order desire. The problem with this idea is that hunger is a desire we cannot control. It comes from the body. Feeling hungry or not feeling hungry has nothing to do with the kind of person you are. Being self-interested does. The hunger example is irrelevant. If you have no self-interest you will not eat. It is not true that the hunger is a first order desire. The self-interest is.  Self-interest decides if you will act on the hunger. 

Some philosophers say that you can give into irrational rage which contradicts self-love. But irrational passions can warp your sense of self-love. When you are being irrational because of passion, that is self-love and just because it may have bad results for you does not imply that it is not self-love.

It is argued that the motive of self-interest would have nothing to aim at unless the person had other motives as well. For example, you don't want to become a doctor just because of the prestige, you want to do a good job as well. But is this correct? You can't have the prestige unless you do a good job. So you can do the job well only to get the prestige. The "other" motives are only different forms of the self-interest motives or support self-interest.

People who tell me to love God are telling me that I should not put myself first. I love only me and God cannot be good according to believers unless he makes me with the power to love him if I so choose. I don’t have that power and to say there is a God is to say that I do and should not put myself first. The people are abusing me for it is not what I am and even if I had the choice it would still be wrong.


Gratitude is appreciation. It is taking delight in somebody or even something doing good for you. It takes delight in them and in the act they performed. Love in the final analysis is really gratitude. This is a reason why we cannot believe people who claim to love evil people and hate their evil deeds. But that aside, gratitude is joy that you got something. If you do something for another - if you give away your last penny - for love then it follows you are really doing it for yourself.

If I value money my act is to value. The money is incidental. How do I know? Because if I value people my act is to value. In both I value, my action is to value. It is exactly the same act but it is only what is valued that is different. If I throw a snowball my act is to throw. The exact same act will throw a football. The act is the same – it is only what is thrown that is different. So it makes no sense to say that to value money is selfish and that it is unselfish to value people. The act is exactly the same, the valuing is exactly the same but it is only the focus of the valuing that is different. It would make as much sense to say that tasting wine was good but tasting milk was bad. Or that tasting wine was unselfish and tasting milk was selfish. Tasting is just tasting just as valuing is just valuing. If tasting something in particular has good results or if valuing something in particular has good results, if they help people better than not doing them would, that is a by-product of the tasting or valuing. People will value what they want or are pre-determined by their psyche to value. It is the valuing that is important – not what is valued. Therefore if I am selfish for valuing money I am just as selfish for valuing people.

There is no sacrifice, for what I do I want to do under the circumstances. The circumstances are forced on me so I have to want enough to act so it is still self-interest.  When I say I don’t want to do it, I mean that I am getting little something out of it but nevertheless I still want to do it enough to be able to do it. My will is just about me meaning that if I do wrong it is a mistake and not a sin or crime. The will is about gratifying desire not about evil and good which are the consequences of the intent but not the intent itself. When I kill a person, I don't do it to take away their life but to fulfil my wish to end their life. Life is easier when we remember that what we do, we do for ourselves even if we are not keen on it and it gives us a sense of comfort. The doctrine of free will, that you can make any choice whatsoever like randomness incarnate, takes that away from us. People never do wrong because they deny their responsibility – they do it because they fail to see how useless and unattractive wrong is. The doctrine of free will suggests otherwise which is why the doctrine is a slander against us that we will not stand for.

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