Chapter

Self‐interest

Nils Holtug

in Persons, Interests, and Justice

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199580170
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722707 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199580170.003.0002
Self‐interest

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In this chapter, the concept of ‘self‐interest’ is clarified and various views about what constitutes self‐interest are considered. According to the ‘Identity View’, in order for an individual to have a present self‐interest in a future benefit, this individual need only be numerically identical to the future beneficiary. The main strengths and weaknesses of this view are laid out. Then further conditions that may be imposed on self‐interests are considered. In particular, the notion that in order for an individual to have a present self‐interest in a future benefit she must have an appropriate kind of preference with respect to this benefit, such as a present preference, an actual preference, or a necessary preference is scrutinized. Also, the view an individual only can have a self‐interest in survival if she prefers her own continued existence is considered. It is argued that we should not accept any of these alternatives to the Identity View.

Keywords: self‐interest; preferences; present preferences; necessary preferences; actual preferences; survival; badness of death; consciousness

Chapter.  17531 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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