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  1. #21
    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    5w4 sp/sx


    Looks like the OP had one too many debates with some followers of Ms Rand and finally snapped. I empathize.

    Yes, depending on how you define selfishness, Mother Teresa was as selfish as the next guy, but that doesn't make the oversimplified homo oeconomicus a realistic model. Human motivations and social dynamics are more complicated than that and there are further factors to consider. That model is based on several shaky premises.

    Yes, you can influence your chances and yes there are always examples from the most disadvantaged groups that make it, but that doesn't make structural hurdles disappear. There is the macro level and the micro level.

    On a tangent note, men on average tend to overestimate and women tend to underestimate not only their skills but the influence they have on their own success. And that can have an impact on their respective carreers.
    Also, an internal locus of control is beneficial and tends to lead to more success in life, even when it is unfounded. Those things might help explain some of the differences in perception here.
    The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Neither love without knowledge, nor knowledge without love can produce a good life. - Bertrand Russell
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  2. #22
    Junior Member
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    Jun 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnyboy View Post
    I agree with you. The problem is, how can I effectively establish that overarching point if I get lost in the minutia surrounding human motivation? Would I lose out on an audience by being too wordy, too thorough? My assessment is that the amount of time required wouldn't be worth the end result. And besides, other forum members do a pretty good job of refining those ideas as you have in your post. The main point is that there is a meaningful distinction between the two poles of the spectrum of the selfless/selfish, and to lump them all together is to miss the point of that distinction.

    Thanks for your contribution.
    Well, I think it's based on the pseudo-psychology that every human action is built on a desire, want or goal, and/or that mental reward systems are always active around these things. It's a way of simplifying human behaviour so it's easily understandable by an armchair philosopher.

    That's why it's false. They fail to understand the breadth and depth of how humans behave. They don't look for these selfish motivations behind actions, they merely assume it is there in every case (hence circular reasoning), and get some major confirmation bias over their perceptions as a result.

  3. #23
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Aug 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnyboy View Post
    Shall I assume that your emphasis on the word philosophy means that you believe I misplaced this thread?
    My point was that a philosophy sub-forum is an appropriate place to debate human motivation in technical rather than collequial terms, if one is so inclined-doing so is not an act of psuedo-intellectualism, just a means of clarifying. Someone can insist that there are no selfless actions without attempting to manipulate definitions or obscure the isse.

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