Rational selfishness

From Academic Kids

Rational selfishness, a term generally related to Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, means to seek to make yourself happy before others. Critics argue that rational selfishness permits harming others. However, Ayn Rand adds the proviso that you mustn't use force to impose your will on others. All in all, the rational selfishness can be viewed upon as the way of living your life in such a manner that your own happiness and hunt for various benefits in life can co-exist with the same will of others. This is, in essence, the basic rule of the system of which Ayn Rand was an eager defender - the capitalistic system.

Further, Ayn Rand discusses rational self-interest in which your happiness, in limited circumstances, can be enhanced by helping others; a related term is enlightened self-interest. Critics then argue that the boundaries of rational self-interest are fuzzy and that much misery can be neglected. Ayn Rand counters that various ideologies coerce individuals into self-sacrifice. Ayn Rand makes a point to argue against what she views as martyrdom.

These notions are inspired, in part, by Friedrich Nietzsche's critique of "slave morality".

See also

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