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Persons, Interests, and Justice$
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Nils Holtug

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199580170

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199580170.001.0001

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(p.17) 2 Self‐interest
Persons, Interests, and Justice

Nils Holtug (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In this chapter, the concept of ‘self‐interest’ is clarified and various views about what constitutes self‐interest are considered. According to the ‘Identity View’, in order for an individual to have a present self‐interest in a future benefit, this individual need only be numerically identical to the future beneficiary. The main strengths and weaknesses of this view are laid out. Then further conditions that may be imposed on self‐interests are considered. In particular, the notion that in order for an individual to have a present self‐interest in a future benefit she must have an appropriate kind of preference with respect to this benefit, such as a present preference, an actual preference, or a necessary preference is scrutinized. Also, the view an individual only can have a self‐interest in survival if she prefers her own continued existence is considered. It is argued that we should not accept any of these alternatives to the Identity View.

Keywords:   self‐interest, preferences, present preferences, necessary preferences, actual preferences, survival, badness of death, consciousness

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