Title

THE ALTRUISTIC EGOIST: ETHICS IN A MODAL REALIST UNIVERSE

Presenter Information

Scott Rezvani

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

In two essays, I consider a system of ethics in a universe where all possible worlds exist as concretely as our own. In this "modal realism" setting, I engage other authors to argue that only one’s well-being as defined by one’s own subjective experiences should be considered morally relevant to each moral agent. I next propose a system for improving the quality of these subjective experiences. Contrary to popular notions concerning egoism, I argue that love—the selfless caring about things external to oneself—is the most important pleasure for someone interested in improving their subjective experiences. Therefore, even when we are motivated completely by our own best interests, as modal realism provides us good reason to be, we still ought to care about things other than ourselves. I engage literature in both philosophy and psychology to develop this argument. My essays have important implications for philosophical questions of virtue and self-interest dating back to Plato, as well as for new moral problems arising from theories of many worlds. They are therefore relevant both to proponents of the philosophy of modal realism, as well as to general audiences interested in living a more fulfilling life.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 15th, 5:00 PM Apr 15th, 5:20 PM

THE ALTRUISTIC EGOIST: ETHICS IN A MODAL REALIST UNIVERSE

UC 330

In two essays, I consider a system of ethics in a universe where all possible worlds exist as concretely as our own. In this "modal realism" setting, I engage other authors to argue that only one’s well-being as defined by one’s own subjective experiences should be considered morally relevant to each moral agent. I next propose a system for improving the quality of these subjective experiences. Contrary to popular notions concerning egoism, I argue that love—the selfless caring about things external to oneself—is the most important pleasure for someone interested in improving their subjective experiences. Therefore, even when we are motivated completely by our own best interests, as modal realism provides us good reason to be, we still ought to care about things other than ourselves. I engage literature in both philosophy and psychology to develop this argument. My essays have important implications for philosophical questions of virtue and self-interest dating back to Plato, as well as for new moral problems arising from theories of many worlds. They are therefore relevant both to proponents of the philosophy of modal realism, as well as to general audiences interested in living a more fulfilling life.