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Selfless Self-Love


This paper challenges the idea that there is a natural opposition between self-interest and morality. It does by developing an account of self-love according to which we can have self-regarding reasons that (1) differ substantially from the standard conception of self-interest and that (2) share enough crucial features with moral reasons to count as morally respectable.

The argument involves three steps. The first step concentrates on the idea of a moral point of view as a means to distinguish between reasons that could be morally respectable and those we have reason to distrust as not morally respectable. The second step discusses Harry Frankfurt's work on love, in order to develop an attitude of selfless love as a source of morally respectable reasons. The third step introduces the idea of an alternative of oneself to show that selfless self-love is a coherent conception of an attitude that provides one with self-regarding and self-grounded reasons that are also morally respectable.

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Correspondence to Jan Bransen.

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Bransen, J. Selfless Self-Love. Ethic Theory Moral Prac 9, 3–25 (2006).

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  • love
  • self-love
  • self-interest
  • the moral point of view
  • disinterestedness
  • Frankfurt
  • reflexive rationality
  • alternative of oneself