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An appeal to self-interest during World War II.

Self-interest generally refers to a focus on the needs or desires (interests) of the self. A number of philosophical, psychological, and economic theories examine the role of self-interest in motivating human action.


In philosophyEdit

Philosophical concepts concerned with self-interest include:

  • Enlightened self-interest, a philosophy which states that acting to further the interests of others also serves one's own self-interest.
  • Ethical egoism, the ethical position that moral agents ought to do what is in their own self-interest.
  • Hedonism, the school of ethics which argues that pleasure is the only intrinsic good.
  • Individualism, a philosophy stressing the worth of individual selves.
  • Rational egoism, the position that all rational actions are those done in one's self-interest.

In psychologyEdit

Psychological concepts concerned with self-interest include psychological egoism, the view that humans are always motivated by self-interest and narcissism, which is an unhealthy self-absorption due to a disturbance in the sense of self.

In biologyEdit

In Richard Dawkins' book The Selfish Gene, self-interest was considered a major artifact in evolution, a necessary process for living organisms.

See alsoEdit