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#1 status - Food for Thought

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Posted 19 October 2016 - 03:06 PM

Is there a connection between materialism and conspicuous consumption? Materialism has been studied both as a personality trait and a value. Material possessions have also been seen to have both private and public meanings. What is the relationship between materialism and individual characteristics? For example, is there a correspondence between private and public meanings of possessions to private and public selves? What is the effect of societal values such as individualism and collectivism on materialism and conspicuous consumption? A study was conducted to look at the relationships between two existing conceptualizations of materialism and suggest some possible connections between materialism and conspicuous consumption. In addition, the study also tested the moderating effects of individual measures in self-consciousness and individualism-collectivism on materialism.
Psychological egoism is the thesis that we are always deep down motivated by what we perceive to be in our own self-interest.  Psychological altruism, on the other hand, is the view that sometimes we can have ultimately altruistic motives.  Suppose, for example, that Pam saves Jim from a burning office building.  What ultimately motivated her to do this?  It would be odd to suggest that it’s ultimately her own benefit that Pam is seeking.  After all, she’s risking her own life in the process.  But the psychological egoist holds that Pam’s apparently altruistic act is ultimately motivated by the goal to benefit herself, whether she is aware of this or not.  Pam might have wanted to gain a good feeling from being a hero, or to avoid social reprimand that would follow had she not helped Jim, or something along these lines.
Several other egoistic views are related to, but distinct from psychological egoism. Unlike ethical egoism, psychological egoism is merely an empirical claim about what kinds of motives we have, not what they ought to be.  So, while the ethical egoist claims that being self-interested in this way is moral, the psychological egoist merely holds that this is how we are. Similarly, psychological egoism is not identical to what is often called “psychological hedonism.”  Psychological hedonism restricts the range of self-interested motivations to only pleasure and the avoidance of pain.  Thus, it is a specific version of psychological egoism.
The story of psychological egoism is rather peculiar.  Though it is often discussed, it hasn’t been explicitly held by many major figures in the history of philosophy. It is most often attributed to only Thomas Hobbes (1651) and Jeremy Bentham (1781).  Most philosophers explicitly reject the view, largely based on famous arguments from Joseph Butler (1726).  Nevertheless, psychological egoism can be seen as a background assumption of several other disciplines, such as psychology and economics.  Moreover, some biologists have suggested that the thesis can be supported or rejected directly based on evolutionary theory or work in sociobiology.
While psychological egoism is undoubtedly an empirical claim, there hasn’t always been a substantial body of experimental data that bears on the debate. However, a great deal of empirical work beginning in the late 20th century has largely filled the void. Evidence from biology, neuroscience, and psychology has stimulated a lively interdisciplinary dialogue. Regardless of whether or not the empirical evidence renders a decisive verdict on the debate, it has certainly enriched discussion of the issue.

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#2 Quartus


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Posted 19 October 2016 - 05:47 PM

Heavy thinking post OP. I'm just a simple man...this may take some time.

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