Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 25, 2018

Moral Psychology

Wojciech Zaluski
Pages 57-62

Three Forms of Egoism

The paper provides a critique of the assumption (usually made in moral-psychological analyses) that egoism is a primitive motive of human action, i.e., not flowing from some other more basic psychological phenomena. It is argued in the paper that: (a) egoism is not a primitive – ‘unanalyzable’ – motive but, rather, a manifestation of some more basic psychological phenomena; (b) one can distinguish three different forms of egoism depending on its psychological basis – cognitively-based, hubris-based, and instinct-based;(c) in each of its forms egoism can be regarded as a moral defect, although the degree of its moral wrongfulness differs depending on its psychological basis: in the paper it is argued that the level is highest in the case of hubris-based egoism, and lowest in the case of instinct-based egoism.