egoism

egoism
egoism, egotism
1. Both are 18c words for ‘preoccupation with oneself’ in various ways. There is no etymological difference to affect their meanings, and the intrusive -t- in egotism is unexplained. When Fowler wrote about these words (1926), egotism was the more popular form, and his prediction that egoism would oust it has not been fulfilled. It is useful to maintain a distinction: egotism is the general word for excessive self-centredness, whereas egoism is a more technical word in ethics and metaphysics for theories which treat the self as the basis of morality and sense-perception. In an extended meaning, egotism also means self-seeking conceit, whereas egoism is a more straightforward preoccupation with the self and an excessive use of I. The meanings are however so close that they will not stay apart in ordinary usage, nor will those of the corresponding personal designations egoist and egotist (although strictly an egoist is someone who subscribes to a type of morality based on the importance of the self and an egotist is a self-seeker) and of the adjectival forms egoistic / egoistical and egotistic / egotistical.
2. Some examples follow: (egoism and its derivatives)

• I have never gone out of my way for man, woman, or child. I am the complete egoist —Vita Sackville-West, 1931

• How much of us will be recognisable in the pages of the history books of 2066? This egoist's niggle spiralled up into my mind —New Statesman, 1966

• He can retain his insights into another person, and use them in choices of means, without abandoning his long-term egoistic ends for the altruistic goals to which he briefly felt himself drawn —A. C. Graham, 1985

• He [sc. C. S. Lewis] writes about it in unforgettably dramatic terms and with the sublime egoism (to use the word purely, with no pejorative sense) of a man alone with God —A. N. Wilson, 1990

• Hutcheson thought of himself as defending the reality of moral distinctions, and the genuineness of a morally good benevolence which was not egoistically based —T. L. S. Sprigg, 1990

• (egotism and its derivatives) Nothing so confirms an egotism as thinking well of oneself —Aldous Huxley, 1939

• He was continually talking about himself and his relation to the world about him, a quality which created the unfortunate impression that he was simply a blatant egotist —H. Miller, 1957

• To justify or to condemn them in public is a squalid piece of egotism when it will hurt the living —C. Day Lewis, 1960

• I had always thought him to be egotistical and attention-seeking —D. M. Thomas, 1990

• It amazed her that she'd ever believed herself in love with him, that she'd deluded herself into seeing his arrogance and his egotism as positive qualities —S. Marton, 1993.


Modern English usage. 2014.

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  • Egoism — may refer to any of the following:* psychological egoism, the doctrine that holds that individuals are always motivated by self interest * ethical egoism, the doctrine that holds that individuals ought to do what is in their self interest *… …   Wikipedia

  • egoism — EGOÍSM s.n. Atitudine de exagerată preocupare pentru interesele personale şi de nesocotire a intereselor altora. – Din fr. égoïsme. Trimis de driada, 28.03.2009. Sursa: DEX 98  Egoism ≠ altruism Trimis de siveco, 03.08.2004. Sursa: Antonime … …   Dicționar Român

  • Egoism — • Synopsis of this ethical system, and short refutation Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Egoism     Egoism     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • egoism — is usually considered in two forms. Psychological egoism is the view that people are always motivated by self interest. Ethical egoism is the view that whether or not people are like this, they ought to be like this; usually this is advanced in… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Egoism — E go*ism, n. [F. [ e]go[ i]sme, fr. L. ego I. See {I}, and cf. {Egotism}.] 1. (Philos.) The doctrine of certain extreme adherents or disciples of Descartes and Johann Gottlieb Fichte, which finds all the elements of knowledge in the ego and the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • egoism — index pride Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • egoism — 1785, in metaphysics (see EGOIST (Cf. egoist)), from Fr. égoisme (1755), from Mod.L. egoismus, from L. ego (see EGO (Cf. ego)). Meaning “self interest” is from 1800 …   Etymology dictionary

  • egoism — egotism, *conceit, amour propre, self love, self esteem Analogous words: self confidence, self assurance, self possession (see CONFIDENCE): self satisfaction, self complacency, complacency, smugness, priggishness (see corresponding adjectives at… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • egoism — / egotism [n] self centeredness arrogance, assurance, boastfulness, boasting, bragging, conceit, conceitedness, egocentricity, egomania, gasconade, haughtiness, insolence, megalomania, narcissism, ostentation, overconfidence, preoccupation with… …   New thesaurus

  • egoism — ► NOUN 1) an ethical theory that treats self interest as the foundation of morality. 2) another term for EGOTISM(Cf. ↑egotistical). DERIVATIVES egoist noun egoistic adjective egoistical adjective …   English terms dictionary

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