Tag Archives: selfishness

Reconceiving the Idea of Selfishness

In the realm of ethics, no characteristic is more widely condemned than selfishness. Practically no one challenges the premise, which we're all taught from childhood, that acting for one's own benefit is morally tainted, while sacrificing for the benefit of others is the essence of moral virtue. It is considered self-evident that selfishness is evil.

But is it? . . .

For more, go to Huffington Post

The Focus of
In Defense of Selfishness

 

Here is an interesting email I received from a prospective reader of IN DEFENSE OF SELFISHNESS:

"I am considering buying the book, but I am on the fence. Looking at the table of contents, it appears it may be more focused on defeating a negative than upholding a positive. For example, the section headings seem to indicate that debunking altruism is discussed more than showing what selfishness is and why it is good. But from the title I expected a book more on the side of upholding a positive. Can you comment on whether the book indeed focuses on defending selfishness as opposed to just debunking altruism? Thanks."

To which I answered:

That's an astute question. My original title for the book was The Tyranny of Need, reflecting my intent to offer a cultural analysis. And since our culture’s direction is increasingly toward altruism, the book does focus heavily on the ramifications of an ethics of self-sacrifice.

However, there is no logical way to attack the false without also validating the true. So the book features extensive material on both the virtue of selfishness and the vice of altruism. For example, the first chapter is devoted to the true meaning of altruism, while the second is devoted to the true meaning of selfishness. Most of the other chapters—such as the ones on moral principles, on rights and on the structure of government—cover both elements. 

It is probably true that the number of words criticizing altruism is greater than the number defending egoism. Nonetheless, the book clearly presents the nature of, the justification for and the various consequences of a code of rational self-interest.

I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.♦♦


P.S. Don't forget that anyone who orders the book before May 8 will be able to attend a free, exclusive webinar, at which I will answer questions about the material in the book. Just send your order-confirmation number and email address to:  events@AynRand.org, with the word "webinar" in the Subject line.

Pre-order now at http://amzn.to/1sd2EQP (Amazon) or at bit.ly/1DI1izY (Barnes & Noble).