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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.
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.
- Epicureanism, a philosophical system related to hedonism.
- 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.
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.
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