Your definition of sociopath (below) is a more accurate one, and one which distinguishes it from 'indivisualist', which an introductory psychology book, or a folk-definition, fails to do. What I'll ask you now is, do you consider someone who is self-centered, egotistical, and selfish, yet respectful of the rights of others (does not kill, steal, rape, or lie to attain his ends), to be a sociopath? I am asking this in regard to your first usage of the word - I forget your exact words (maybe you can re-post them), but it was something like "only a sociopath would need every action to directly benefit him" (I know this is way off - but I think I got the gist of it). Perhaps you were just using the term metaphorically?
From: Robert Owen <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com> Date: Sunday, October 10, 1999 8:55 PM
Subject: Re: Sociopaths (was Re: Reforming Education)
>No sociopath (or "psychopath" -- a term in disfavor) ever believes he has
>done anything "wrong" and, in an almost autistic way, simply can't under-
>stand why everyone is making such a fuss. This is quite consistent with
>a primitive, solipsistic "morality" which is nothing but an unquestioning
>implementation of any need without reservation, generalizations from
>relevant prior experience, or predictions of probable future consequences.
>Some people have indeed decided this disorder is essentially a learning
>disability, and who therefore believe that the "moral" self-regulation of
>process of decision-making is nothing but learned behavior. It is not even
>clear that this person conceptualizes alternatives when experiencing the
>pressure to act.
>The absence of frustration-tolerance with respect especially to aggressive
>(they do learn bladder and bowel control) impulses, and their solipsistic
>or schizoform isolation of affect and volition from their social
>as discussed above, makes this condition exactly what you would expect.
>"Responsibility", "rights", "obligations" and identification with "real"
>(we call it "empathy") are simply concepts and processes which have no
>apparent meaning whatever to the sociopath.
>Thanks, Zeb, for your reply,
>Robert M. Owen
>The Orion Institute
>57 W. Morgan Street
>Brevard, NC 28712-3659 USA