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In ethics, the principle that we should each act so as to promote our own interests. The great advantage of such a position is that it avoids any possible conflict between morality and self-interest; if it is rational for us to pursue our own interest, the rationality of morality is equally clear. The prescriptive thesis of ethical egoism can be distinguished from the descriptive thesis of psychological egoism. Psychological egoism is a generalization about human motivation, namely, that everyone always acts so as to promote his or her own interests.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on egoism, visit Britannica.com.