There are many challenges to the authority of morality, the claim that everyone has reasons to be moral. This chapter distinguishes the challenge from Egoism from a recent, widely discussed claim by Williams, that there are no ‘external’ reasons. It introduces standard Egoism, the theory that everyone has reason to maximize their happiness (and no other reasons for action). It is the most common form of Egoism. It has obvious parallels with rational utilitarianism, the theory that everyone has reason to maximize the general happiness. Sidgwick noticed these parallels and tried to show that standard Egoism was mistaken. But he found that he could not: he was left with a ‘dualism of practical reason’, and his project to defend morality failed.
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