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Ayn Rand's Book: The Virtue of Selfishness

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Rand's argument for the definition of 'selfishness' is that it does not include a moral evaluation; it does not tell us whether concern with one's own interest is good or evil. She states that 'selfishness' has become a synonym to the word 'evil'. Which brings the minds of people to images of a murderous brute, therefore it does not constitute man's actual interests. Altruism, which means unselfishness; self-sacrifice; selflessness, is declared by Rand that it takes any action for the benefit of others is good, and any action taken for one's own benefit is evil.

Rand states that man must act for his own 'rational self-interest'. Continuing she states that for man to do so his right is derived from his nature as man and from the function of moral values in a human life. Therefore, Rand concludes that this is only appropriate in the context of a rational code of moral principles which she says is defined and determined as his actual self-interest.

Ayn Rand's argument on 'selfishness' is this: unless you factor in morals and values a.k.a rational self-interest, you are unable to give a precise definition of the word 'selfishness' because what the public thinks weighs heavily on this particular definition.

Premise 1: "Selfishness" is a synonym of evil, in popular usage.

Premise 2: "Selfishness" is concerned with one's own interests; definition given from the dictionary.

Premise 3: Altruism: a) that any concern with one's own interest is evil, regardless of what these interests might be. b) that the brute's activities are in fact to one's own interest.

Premise 4: Altruism therefore means that it permits no concept of a self-respecting, self-supporting man- a man who supports his life by his own effort and neither sacrifices himself nor others.

Premise 5: The reasons why man needs a moral code will tell you that the purpose of morality is to define man's proper values and interests, that concern with his own interests is the essence of the moral existence, and that man must be the beneficiary of his own moral actions.

Conclusion: 'Selfishness' therefore can not be defined unless you factor in morals and values. The attack on 'selfishness'



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