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The Beloved SelfMorality and the Challenge from Egoism$
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Alison Hills

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199213306

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199213306.001.0001

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Ambitious Vindication

Ambitious Vindication

Chapter:
(p.89) 5 Ambitious Vindication
Source:
The Beloved Self
Author(s):

Alison Hills (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199213306.003.0005

An ambitious vindication of morality – an argument beginning from premises that an Egoist will accept that Egoism is false – is the Holy Grail of moral philosophy. This chapter discusses some recent attempts to give this kind of vindication. The first strategy considered is an argument that no adequate theory of practical reason can include only Egoist reasons. Nagel, Korsgaard, and Allison all offer different versions of this argument. Nagel claims that an Egoist is guilty of ‘practical solipsism’; Korsgaard, that Egoist reasons are improperly ‘private’; and Allison, working within a Kantian framework, tries to show that only someone who acts for moral reasons can be autonomous. The second strategy is to attack the metaphysical presuppositions of the theory. Parfit argues that Egoism is inconsistent with the most plausible metaphysics of personal identity. It is argued that all these arguments fail, and the implication of these failures is assessed.

Keywords:   ambitious vindication, morality, practical reasons, personal identity, Korsgaard, Allison, Nagel, Parfit

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