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Reasons and Persons$
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Derek Parfit

Print publication date: 1986

Print ISBN-13: 9780198249085

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019824908X.001.0001

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Theories That Are Indirectly Self‐Defeating

Theories That Are Indirectly Self‐Defeating

Chapter:
(p.3) 1 Theories That Are Indirectly Self‐Defeating
Source:
Reasons and Persons
Author(s):

Derek Parfit (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/019824908X.003.0001

According to the Self‐interest Theory, or S, our own well‐being is the supremely rational aim. According to Consequentialism, or C, the ultimate moral aim is that things go as well as possible. The chapter explains how these theories can be indirectly self‐defeating, in the sense that our trying to achieve these aims may cause them to be worse; how it can be rational to cause ourselves to be irrational, and how it might be right to cause ourselves to be disposed to act wrongly; how these theories might be self‐effacing by telling us to believe other theories; and how these theories do not fail in their own terms.

Keywords:   self‐interest, collective, consequentialism, determinism, rationality, self‐defeating, self‐effacing, utilitarianism, wrong‐doing

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