There was a very interesting tension pointed out to me yesterday in my moral philosophy. As regular readers know, I am broadly utilitarian–I think that we should try to promote the general welfare. I am concerned with the consequences of moral decisions rather than their motivation, and I do not think hard, fast rules forbidding given behaviours without regard to situational consequences are good ideas. I have, however, recently seemingly changed a position somewhere, because I now find myself embracing, in some situations, what looks like an egoist view. The egoist position is that a person should do what is good for them, not what is good for society at large. So how do I square this circle? Let me see if it can be done.
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