Mr. Barratt on ‘The Suppression of Egoism ’

Henry Sidgwick

in Essays on Ethics and Method

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780198250234
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598432 | DOI:

Series: British Moral Philosophers

 Mr. Barratt on ‘The Suppression of Egoism  ’

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In his reply to Barratt's criticisms of his Methods of Ethics, Sidgwick states that Barratt misapprehends his position by overlooking the fact that he reviews various methods of ethics from a neutral and impartial standpoint. Following Butler, Sidgwick holds that reasonable self‐love and conscience are the two primary principles in human life. He differs from Butler on which precepts of conscience are reasonable, and maintains that the central formula of conscience holds that one ought not to prefer one's own good to the greater good of another. To Barratt's challenge that this confutes the principle of Rational Egoism, Sidgwick replies that the principle is contradicted, not confuted.

Keywords: Barratt; Joseph Butler; conscience; ethics; method; rational egoism; self‐love; Sidgwick

Chapter.  825 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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