refers to self-interest
which is broader than the self-interest limited to one’s personal situation. For instance, a soldier may fight on behalf of his country; he may be wounded or get killed, but the interest of his own country is at stake, so his action is prompted by self-interest. This situation may coincide with him fighting in his direct self-interest (if he is out for fame, or another gain). Another example is provided by the behaviour of firefighters who try to rescue someone while putting their own lives at stake: their self-interest lies in the fact that they want the person in need saved.
In some situations, the demarcation between direct and indirect self-interest may be unclear or even impossible to determine.
- Jasper Doomen, Smith’s Analysis of Human Actions, pp. 113, 114. Appeared in: Ethic@. An International Journal for Moral Philosophy vol. 4, nr. 2 (December 2005), pp. 111-122