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Self-Interest

Self-interest is commonly defined as the explicit concern for the wants and needs of the individual. Typically, the expression is contrasted with other terms, such as altruism or collectivism, which privilege the needs of others or the broader group unit. Since antiquity, the topic of self-interest has been hotly debated and contested in the Western intellectual world and beyond. It has spanned across many academic disciplines and caught the attention of such luminary figures as Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza, Max Stirner, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Ayn Rand, to name a few.

One particularly influential reading of self-interest comes to us from the Western philosophical tradition of psychological egoism. In broad terms, what psychological egoists are said to advance is the descriptive view that human beings are always only ...

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