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In Defense of Selfishness

Peter Schwartz

Presented at: ARI Road to a Free Society

Venue: Hilton Costa Mesa –– Costa Mesa CA

Date: Jun 17, 2015

When you hear the word selfishness, what comes to mind? Typically, selfishness is associated with amoral, predatory behavior. It’s a word used to describe people like Bernard Madoff or Attila the Hun. On the other hand, selflessness is generally celebrated and aligned with friendship and love. In this talk, Peter Schwartz challenges these misconceptions.

Discussing ideas in his new book, In Defense of Selfishness: Why the Code of Self-Sacrifice Is Unjust and Destructive (2015), Schwartz offers a radically different view of selfishness and altruism. The rationally selfish individual—he argues—is committed to moral principles and lives an honest, productive, self-respecting life. Schwartz refutes the ethics of self-sacrifice in all its forms and shows that friendship and love are acts, not of self-sacrifice, but of self-interest. This talk explains why you have a moral right to exist for your own sake, rather than a moral duty to serve the needs of others.


Parts: 1

Handout: none