The psychological egoist might reply that the soldier is lying orself-deceived. Perhaps he threw himself on the grenade because he couldnot bear to live with himself afterwards if he did not do so. He has abetter life, in terms of welfare, by avoiding years of guilt. The mainproblem here is that while this is a possible account of some cases,there is no reason to think it covers all cases. Another problem isthat guilt may presuppose that the soldier has a non-self-regardingdesire for doing what he takes to be right.
One might also object to Prichard-style arguments that (a) they arequestion-begging, since egoists will hardly agree that my reason forhelping is something other than the benefit to me, and (b) givendisagreement over this claim about my reason, the appropriate responseis to suspend judgment about it. Alison Hills, in 2010 parts II and III (directed atrational egoism), replies to (a) that moralists can assure themselvesby giving arguments that start from premises like “I have areason to help regardless of whether doing so contributes to myself-interest,” provided this premiss is not inferred from thefalsity of rational egoism — perhaps it is self-evident. Inreply to (b), she argues that disagreement over the premiss does notrequire moralists to suspend judgment about it, although disagreementover an egoistic premiss like “I have reason to help onlybecause doing so benefits me” does require egoists to suspend judgment. Thedifference is that rational egoists aim at knowledge, and for putativeknowledge, in cases of disagreement between epistemic peers,suspension of belief is required. Moralists aim primarily not atknowledge but at the ability to draw, on their own, true moralconclusions from the evidence. Since aiming at this abilityrequires giving weight to the conclusions of others,suspension of belief in cases of disagreement is not required ofthem.
Thesetheories can also be accessed by learning domains and concepts."
Of course the divergence between ethical egoism and standard moraltheories need not bother an ethical egoist. An ethical egoist seesegoism as superior to other moral theories. Whether it is superiordepends on the strength of the arguments for it. Two arguments arepopular.
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This argument has drawbacks. Natural selection does not alwaysprovide back-up mechanisms (I have but one liver). Natural selectionsometimes has my desires caused by affect that is produced by a beliefrather than directly by the belief (my desire to run away from dangeris often caused by my fear, rather than by the mere belief that thereis danger). And in these cases, as in the case of the imperfectlycorrelated pain and bodily injury, there seems usually tobe affect. The altruistic hypothesis also has some ofthe same problems: for example, just as there might not be enoughpain, the non-instrumental desire that the child do well might not bestrong enough to defeat other desires. Indeed, without an estimate ofhow strong this desire is, there is no reason to think the egoistichypothesis is less reliable. It may have more points at which it cango wrong, but produce more care than a direct but weak altruisticmechanism. (For many of these worries, and others, see Stich, Dorisand Roedder 2010.)
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As Sartre and Merleau-Ponty would later do, Heidegger pursued theseissues with the somewhat unlikely resources of Edmund Husserl'sphenomenological method. And while not all existential philosopherswere influenced by phenomenology (for instance Jaspers and Marcel), thephilosophical legacy of existentialism is largely tied to the form ittook as an existential version of phenomenology. Husserl's efforts inthe first decades of the twentieth century had been directed towardestablishing a descriptive science of consciousness, by which heunderstood not the object of the natural science of psychology but the“transcendental” field of intentionality, i.e., that whereby ourexperience is meaningful, an experience of somethingas something. The existentialists welcomed Husserl's doctrineof intentionality as a refutation of the Cartesian view according towhich consciousness relates immediately only to its ownrepresentations, ideas, sensations. According to Husserl, consciousnessis our direct openness to the world, one that is governed categorially(normatively) rather than causally; that is, intentionality is not aproperty of the individual mind but the categorial framework in whichmind and world become intelligible.