Ethical Egoism Essay Research Paper Ethical EgoismIn

Ethical Egoism Essay, Research Paper

Ethical Egoism:

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In Pursuit of Self-Interest

Ethical Egoism

Ethical Egoism, like all other moral philosophical theories, attempts to develop a comprehensive set of regulations by which each individual should regulate their lives. Alternatively of nearing each day-to-day determination individually and construing the right response, philosophers try to happen an overall karyon of regulations that will steer each individual in their day-to-day lives. This is evidently non an easy undertaking. Ethical egoism attempts to work out the job in footings of maximising one? s single good. Many people would state that being concerned with your ain personal good is merely the definition of selfishness, but with an apprehension of different types of egoism one can see that what might look like selfishness is really an ethical position of ego involvement.

The theory of ethical egoism, considered here, comes from the ethical logical thinking of consequentialism in which the concentration is on the effects of human actions ( Donaldson, Werhane p.3 ) . It is a theory that states, ? It construes the right action as action whose effects, considered among all options, maximizes my good that is, action that benefits me the most or harms me the least? ( Donaldson, Werhane p.3 ) . In other words, it says that what is morally right for a individual is what is good for him or herself. Peoples can hold all kinds of right or incorrect thoughts about what is good for them. What one wants is what is truly good for him or her, non merely what he or she thinks is ( Professor James Stieb ) . More specifically, it says that right actions are those, which promote opportunism, and incorrect actions are those, which detract from opportunism. Whatever brings us the greatest grade of good is right. The ethical egotist is non concerned with maximising the good of the people as a whole, which is the basic definition of utilitarianism ( Donaldson, Werhane p.3 ) .

When one considers the theory at face value, there is small that can be said incorrect about it. What could perchance be bad about each individual giving their lives to maximising their ain personal good? Is non that what we are all looking for anyhow? Do non we all want good lives? In add-on, if each individual is populating in a province, which they consider good, so will this non convey about some cosmopolitan good as good? Book IV, Chapter II of The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, talks about the person who exerts him or herself, led by an unseeable manus, for the chase of their ain opportunism necessarily promotes the good of society as good. Smith writes,

? It is his ain advantage, so, and non that of society, which he has in position. But the survey of his ain advantage, of course, or instead needfully, leads him to prefer that employment which is most advantageous to society? By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends merely his ain security: and by directing that industry in such a mode as its green goods may be one of the greatest value, he intends merely his ain addition? led by an unseeable manus to advance an terminal which was in no portion of his purposes? ( Donaldson, Werhane p.142 ) .

Another appealing facet of ethical egoism is that it allows each person to do determinations, which will finally do him or her happy. It allows people the freedom to make up one’s mind what is truly good for them. Peoples have the right to make what they feel is traveling to profit their good without holding the sense that they are making something incorrect. I do non believe any sensible adult grownup likes to be told what to make, particularly when it conflicts with their chase of felicity. In The Elementss of Moral Philosophy by James Rachels, the 2nd statement out of the three could non hold been put any better when it stated that? ? the policy of? looking out for other? is an violative invasion into other people? s privateness ; it is particularly a policy of minding other people? s concern? ( p.85 ) . Who knows himself or herself better than each single individual? I am a Roman Catholic ; although I am non a practising one, I feel that after twelve old ages of Catholic schooling I have the capableness to take which set regulations and instructions are most suited for my life. Yet there are some beliefs in my faith in which I do non hold with, such as the resistance to pre-marital sex. If two consenting grownups would wish to hold sexual intercourse in a respectable and safe mode than who is state them otherwise? Is the church the justice to state them they can non or early society who believed sex is merely for married grownups, in private, for the usage of reproduction merely?

James Rachels, in his statements against ethical egoism, gives back uping grounds from The Moral Point of View by Kurt Baier that? ? Ethical Egoism can non be right because it can non supply solutions for struggles of involvement? ( Rachels p.91 ) . In my sentiment I would hold to differ with this statement. I do non believe that ethical egoism has to work out struggles of involvement. I believe in a nucleus of moralss that should be the determiners of conflicting involvements. Take for illustration, Baier? s illustration of B and K and their chase of the presidential term in a state:

? Let B and K be campaigners for the presidential term of a certain state and allow it be granted that it is in the involvement of either to be elected, but merely one can win. It would so be in the involvement of B but against the involvement of K if B were elected, and vise versa, and hence in the involvement of B but against the involvement of K if K were liquidated, and frailty versa? ?

In this state of affairs many will state that ethical egoism can supply no solution to the job of conflicting involvements. If B does non win the election or liquidate K, so B is non maximising his good and acquire the best he can out of the state of affairs. However, if K is beaten in the election or is liquidated so K is evidently non carry throughing his best involvement. This illustration brings up a great figure point by Joseph Betz. Betz believes in a? Basic, Settled Ethics, ? and through this nucleus of moralss comes grey countries, which have debating issues. So if both B and K are prosecuting to carry through their maximal felicity, which is right? Well one can see that the conflicting involvements, harmonizing to Betz, wou

ld be a? grey country? of opportunism. Betz says that, ? I do non claim that grey countries ask foring favoritism and debate do non emerge from the black and white of this settee, nucleus moralss, but that we judge of the grey by mentioning from the black and white of the background of the settee, moral certainty? ( Donaldson, Werhane p.40 ) . The grey country is that it is in the ego and best involvement of B and K to neutralize each other in order to win the election. The black and white of the settee nucleus moralss ( it is incorrect to kill ) would judge of this grey country ( self-interest ) ; therefore one can presume that the grey country of settlement is incorrect.

Adam Smith, viewed as the male parent of modern economic sciences, wrote in his book The Wealth of Nations? It is non from the benevolence of the meatman, the beer maker, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their respect to their ain involvements. We address ourselves, non to their humanity but to their amour propre? ? ( p.18 ) . Smith? s meatman, beer maker, and baker illustration is a self-interest behaviour. Amartya Sen states that? The meatman, the beer maker, and the baker desire our money, and we want their merchandises, and the exchange benefits us all? ( Donaldson, Werhane p.13 ) . With this in head, the chase of maximized felicity of B and K to win the election is surely non incorrect and in no manner disproves the guess of ethical egoism merely because the theory can non work out a struggle of involvement such as that. On another degree if it were, in the best involvement of a chemical company to dump their toxins in the local river because it is cheaper than disposing the toxins decently, other moralss theories would come into drama to work out the job. The struggles of involvements here would be the chemical company salvaging a vaulting horse by dumping illegal substances in the river and the local people? s resistance because of the wellness jobs and populating animals in the encompassing country. Ethical egoism would truly state that parties are right in prosecuting their ain felicity ( salvaging a vaulting horse ) , but in the grey country of their opportunism ( dumping toxins in the river ) would be judged by the black and white. This happens merely as if the local constabulary are over their caputs in a hostile state of affairs. Once they are out of their conference another overmastering organic structure will come in to supplant.

Psychological egoism is a subdivision of egoism in which it is the claim? that worlds by nature are motivated merely by opportunism? ( hypertext transfer protocol: // ) . With this apprehension, many will state that people ever act in their opportunisms, even though they may mask their motive by assisting others. If I helped my friend out of problem, I may experience happy afterwards. It is this felicity that is the motivation for my actions. Psychological egoism fundamentally says, ? any act, no affair how selfless ( non purely self-interested, but includes the opportunisms of other as good ) it might look, is really motivated by some selfish desire of agent? ( hypertext transfer protocol: // ) . If psychological egoism were true, so ethical egoism would look to be excess. If people necessarily were incapable of moving other than for their ain opportunism, so there would be no demand to press them to make so ( hypertext transfer protocol: // ) . Why would theoreticians come up with a theory that worlds already are prone in making?

The theory of selflessness can be put into the same class as James Rachel? s 3rd statement in favour of ethical egoism. His statement was that? Making other people the objects of one? s? charity? is degrading to them: it robs them of their single self-respect and dignity? ( Rachels p.85 ) . Altruism is really take downing like Rachel? s statement. Friedrich Nietzsche, a 19th century German philosopher, argued that selflessness is take downing because it is a? morality of the weak, amorality for slaves, for the herd, and for those who were afraid to asseverate themselves? ( hypertext transfer protocol: // ) . Nietzsche goes on to state, ? selflessness is for people who value themselves so small that they put other people in front of their ain selves. ? Furthermore it is delusory in that it takes a failing, neglecting to value oneself, and turns it into a desirable quality, selflessness ( hypertext transfer protocol: // ) .

Since the beginning of clip each person had to trust on his or herself to populate each twenty-four hours. No 1 else was traveling to run nutrient for them or raise as many cowss and harvests as they can to do a vaulting horse. Would it be their mistake because person else did non hold the thrust to work every bit difficult and do their life as he or she saw tantrum? Populating in the highly misanthropic universe that we do today, most people would hold that many people to move in their opportunism. Some are prone to move more selfishly than ethically, sing the universe we live many are moving in the narcissistic yet ethical manner of opportunism. The United States? economic system is a dog-eat-dog system. Thousands of enterprisers take their hazard opening their ain concern to offer to society, and really few do it because person else may hold beaten them at the thought or has cornered the market. It is non incorrect that another has another has made it because of their opportunism in difficult work to do money to acquire the life style he or she has ever wanted or maybe it is merely to set nutrient on the tabular array every dark for their household. Whatever the ground, one can see that everyone is narcissistic in his or her ain manner, but there is nil incorrect in prosecuting our really ain felicity.

1. Donaldson, Thomas and Werhane, Patricia H.

Ethical Issues in Business. 6th erectile dysfunction. New Jersey:

Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River,1999.

2. Rachels, James. The Elementss of Moral Philosophy. 3rd

ed. New York: McGraw-Hill College, 1999.

3. Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations. Ed. Edwin Cannan.

Chicago: University of Chicago Press,1976.

4. Kay, Charles D. Varieties of Egoism. January 20, 1997.

( hypertext transfer protocol: // )

5. Chapter Four The Ethical motives of Selfishness: Egoism. October

20,2000. ( hypertext transfer protocol: // ) .

6. Stieb, James. Lecture on ethical egoism. October 2000.


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