Master of Arts
Date of Defense
Jill B. Delston
The consequentialist variant of ethical egoism is subject to two major objections, the self-effacement objection and the excessive deliberation objection. I argue that a rule-consequentialist egoism can withstand these objections. Utilizing the concept of internalization, I argue that the rule-consequentialist egoist may train herself to habitually act in accordance with a rule. By doing so, she avoids the problem of excessive deliberation, while also ensuring that her action is in accordance with her criterion of rightness, her adopted set of rules. Furthermore, by building on the distinction between criterion of rightness and decision procedure, I counter the self-effacement objection by showing that an egoist can deliberate about her friends in an acceptably non-consequentialist manner, while maintaining that this decision procedure is justified on consequentialist egoist grounds. I then counter two forms of a further objection, rule-fetishism. I argue that internalization of rules allows us to maintain that we ought to follow rules, even in situations where the outcome won't be best, in order to avoid bigger problems with act-consequentialist egoism. I conclude by arguing that my defense of rule-consequentialist egoism robs Lester Hunt's flourishing-egoism of its motivation. Hunt's theory has a problematic conception of value, which either places the locus of value outside the egoist framework, or collapses into a consequentialist egoist theory.
Bramman, Andrew Ross, "Rules and Habits" (2014). Theses. 245.