Religion Past and Present

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(707 words)

[German Version]

The term originated in the 18 century. I. Kant described as moral egoists those who see only their own needs and happiness instead of seeking the basis for volitional decisions in moral obligations. The opposite of “egoism” for Kant was the mindset of a tolerant, cosmopolitan “pluralism” (Pluralism, altruism).

Apart from the term, egoism, coined in the modern era, ancient religion and philosophy already discussed excessive love of self, unilateral selfishness or an internal “perversion” of the person (Luther) as an ethical and r…

Cite this page
Kreß, Hartmut, “Egoism”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 26 May 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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