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Non-Objectivist defence of rational self-interest?

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I was wondering if anyone knew of any non-objectivists who have supported self-interest or defended the ideas of self-interest?

This is the same as asking if non-objectivists can be moral?

Understand that an Objectivist is one who explicitly accepts and lives the principles of Objectivism.

That does not imply that all non-Obj.s fail to live all such principles.

It is a matter of logic....

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This is the same as asking if non-objectivists can be moral?

Understand that an Objectivist is one who explicitly accepts and lives the principles of Objectivism.

That does not imply that all non-Obj.s fail to live all such principles.

It is a matter of logic....

Sorry, I think you misunderstand.

I was asking for specific examples of non-Objectivist supporters of self-interest and egoism, which implies they'd be well known.

And thanks for the link softwareNerd

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Sorry, I think you misunderstand.

I was asking for specific examples of non-Objectivist supporters of self-interest and egoism, which implies they'd be well known.

From memory, the only major thinkers who claimed to support egoism that come to mind are Aristotle, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Stirner and Rand. And the Nietzsche/Stirner brand of 'egoism' is really just lone-wolf whim worship -- sacrificing others to self instead of self to others.

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From memory, the only major thinkers who claimed to support egoism that come to mind are Aristotle, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Stirner and Rand. And the Nietzsche/Stirner brand of 'egoism' is really just lone-wolf whim worship -- sacrificing others to self instead of self to others.
I've also come across one reference from ancient China (Yang Chu), and one from ancient India (Carvaka). Some day, I'd like to see a book that explores the different thinkers who groped toward some type of egoism. (The top "egoism" books on Amazon don't seem to contain any such broad survey.)
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I was wondering if anyone knew of any non-objectivists who have supported self-interest or defended the ideas of self-interest?

Riley Crane, MIT Physicist who led the Media Laboratory Human Dynamics Group to win the DARPA Network Challenge joins Stephen on the Report.

http://watch.thecomedynetwork.ca/#clip251946

The winners of the DARPA Network Challenge applied a viral incentive structure (i.e. highest rewards for most useful information) that allowed them to find ten red balloons randomly positioned around the continental US in

just under 9 hours!!

While other reports on this particular challenge focused on its geekiness, leave it to Colbert to find the self-interest angle to the method they applied to actually win.

On a more general theme of which the above is an example, X-prize type competitions reward the self-interested competence of the winners, and also reward by exceptional ROE, the organizers of the competitions.

Or to quote one X-prize winner, Burt Rutan: See what free men can do!

<Φ>aj

Edited by aristotlejones
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Are you looking strictly for formal philosophers? Because there were a lot of Enlightenment writers who, in one way or another, championed self-interest/freedom. You might look into Locke or Smith. And there are a few modern economic/political theorists like von Mises and Hazlitt, Isabel Patterson, etc.

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I remember a thread here about Rush Limbaugh defending self-interest and even using the term "the smallest minority on earth" (which I first heard said by Ayn Rand).

The Smallest Minority on Earth

...

As I said, we have a gigantic new audience to this program, the tune-in factor is just through the roof. For those of you who are new to the program, I want you to please understand that the criticism of the Obama administration here and the disagreement with practically every element of his agenda is based on one thing. We do not want to lose the liberty and freedom that we were born with in this country and that has made this the greatest country on earth, that has given us the greatest, most prosperous lifestyle any of population of human beings in the history of the planet. It has been liberty; it's been freedom; it has been the ambition and desire to use that freedom in the concept of self-interest. I want to spend more time on this in a future program. But this notion of sacrifice that the president talked about yesterday is just over the top. Liberals always talk about sacrifice, Obama, every time he opens his mouth, mentions the need for people to sacrifice. We all must suffer. We all have to jointly suffer in order for all of us to somehow be the same, and self-interest, selfishness is condemned. And self-interest is not selfishness. Self-interest is what built this country.

...

The one line about "self-interest is not selfishness" is how most non-Objectivists interpret the word selfishness. To most people I know, in fact, selfishness to them means "irrational selfishness".

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The one line about "self-interest is not selfishness" is how most non-Objectivists interpret the word selfishness.

Most people these days equate 'selfishness' with what Rand called "whim worship" -- acting to fulfill one's range of the moment desires without thought of consequence or impact on others. This kind of action is so obviously damaging that it leads to a split between 'selfishness' and 'self-interest', when in fact the two terms should be synonymous. Acting in your self-interest is selfish, and selfishness is acting in one's own self-interest. Untangling this package deal wherever we encounter it is an important component of Objectivist cultural activism.

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Most people these days equate 'selfishness' with what Rand called "whim worship" -- acting to fulfill one's range of the moment desires without thought of consequence or impact on others. This kind of action is so obviously damaging that it leads to a split between 'selfishness' and 'self-interest', when in fact the two terms should be synonymous. Acting in your self-interest is selfish, and selfishness is acting in one's own self-interest. Untangling this package deal wherever we encounter it is an important component of Objectivist cultural activism.

I've looked for a good discussion about this on these forums, but the terms (sacrifice, selfishness, self-interest, etc) are so ubiquitous here that I haven't found what I'm looking for.

I have also tried to explain "the virtue of selfishness" to my wife with the inevitable outcome being the same as what I get from others. That is basically, "Well, you're redefining selfishness from what everyone in the world knows it to mean. Pick a better word."

If there is one ice cream sandwich left and I choose to give it to my little boy, there aren't many people in the world who would acknowledge my selfish act in that regard. Most would praise my sacrifice. :(

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I've looked for a good discussion about this on these forums, but the terms (sacrifice, selfishness, self-interest, etc) are so ubiquitous here that I haven't found what I'm looking for.

Rand succinctly defined "sacrifice" as giving up something you value more in exchange for something you value less, or not at all.

I have also tried to explain "the virtue of selfishness" to my wife with the inevitable outcome being the same as what I get from others. That is basically, "Well, you're redefining selfishness from what everyone in the world knows it to mean. Pick a better word."

Rand's introduction to The Virtue of Selfishness addresses this reaction head-on.

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When considering the various advocates of egoism or self-interest throughout the history of philosophy, it is important to examine the epistemology involved. It might also be pertinent to note the Objectivist view of all the other attempts at validating egoism without what they consider to be the right epistemology. I am reminded of a paragraph talking about these defenses of self-interest from OPAR:

"Unfortunately, for a reason I shall soon indicate, egoism has been advocated through the centuries mainly by subjectivists. The result is several corrupt versions of egoism, which most people now regard as the self-evident meaning of the concept. So I must keep stressing the fact that Objectivism upholds objectivity and therefore rejects all these versions. We reject the idea that egoism permits the evasion of principles. We reject the equation of egoism with irresponsibility, context-dropping, and whim-worship. We reject the notion that selfishness means "doing whatever you feel like doing." The fact that you feel like taking some action does not necessarily make it an action compatible with your "interests," in the legitimate sense of that term. There are countless examples of people who desire and pursue self-destructive courses of behavior.

One such course consists of a person sacrificing others to himself."

Peikoff, OPAR, p.234

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Rand succinctly defined "sacrifice" as giving up something you value more in exchange for something you value less, or not at all.

Rand's introduction to The Virtue of Selfishness addresses this reaction head-on.

Right. I know.

The point is that Ayn Rand's definition (correct as it is) differs from the understanding of just about every non-Objectivist on the planet. That's no small hurdle in my estimation.

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