Early normative egoism is often associated with the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche whose ideas about freedom, the will, and the “superman,” certainly seem to support egoism, and have been used that way, but Nietzsche himself rejected egoism because, he said, being an egoist would have the opposite of the desired effect; it would set other people against you, which is bad for your own success.
Egotism is the drive to maintain and enhance favorable views of oneself, and generally features an inflated opinion of one's personal features and importance.
In a similar vein, Bentham famously opens his Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1781/1991) with this:
When working with certain economic or sociological models, we may frequently assume that people will act in such a way as to promote their own interests. This is not a normative claim and usually not even a descriptive claim. Instead it is a minimalist assumption used for certain calculations. If we assume only self-interest on the part of all agents, we can determine certain extreme-case ( ., maximin) outcomes for the model. Implicit in this assumption, although not always stated, is the idea that altruistic behavior on the part of the agents, although not presupposed, would yield outcomes at least as good and probably better.
But it is the familial disruptions where Bazarov causes the most damage, especially in the relationships among the Nikolai, Pavel, and Arkady. Bazarov not only pits the son against the father, but he also creates conflict between the two brothers, Nikolai and Pavel. Whereas Arkady has superficially adopted Bazarov’s nihilism and thereby causing a rift between father and son as well as between uncle and nephew, Nikolai and Pavel disagree about the seriousness of the threat that nihilism poises to the younger generation. Nikolai is more resigned but sympathetic to the ideas of the “sons” while Pavel remains adamant that they are wrong (129).
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