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Self-interest plays no part in genuine morality

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Introduction

Self-interest plays no part in genuine morality We all have different views about whether self-interest plays part in morality or not. Kant for instance believed that an act is not moral if it is motivated by self-interest. Morality should be a form of altruism. The psychological egoism claims that the only possible form of motivation is self-interest with no concern of altruism, so every act is just to 'satisfy' ourselves, which is also not seen as a negative feature. If self-interest has nothing to do with morality then why are we moral and if our self-interest is the only source of motivation, are we moral at all? Kant claims that being moral is rational and if we act considering our self-interest, it is immoral, because reason should make us take an impartial point of view, overruling our self-interest and emotion. For instance people are tired but they all have to get up and go to work. The bodily desires are clashing with our duty and in this case our reason tells us to do the right thing. We also have to be the 'man of good will', which means to do our duty and the "good" does not necessarily mean the word 'good' used in everyday language. ...read more.

Middle

We feel much better without these conflicts and worries. The only possible way to achieve happiness and peace in the mind is through reason. Desires never know what is good for our future. A happy soul is happy to accept the rule of reason and to restrict desires, which just cause chaos. For instance the desires of an immoral person are out of control, and deceive this person, as desires are not for what that particular person needs. Thus we do not feel what is in fact good for us because we think it is better to get everything we want, than acting morally. A virtuous person knows the values of morally right and wrong. And they are happier because reason tells them to do the right thing and they do not have mental conflicts. There is a very good example of how Mr Lincoln saved some pigs from drowning and as his fellow asked the reason of his act, he said: 'I did it to get peace of mind, don't you see?' This argument is more convincing than the one from Kant but I do not agree with the claim that we should totally restrict our desires, as sometimes we still want to achieve the goals which are some of our desires but not immediately because we can think and decide whether it is really good for us or not. ...read more.

Conclusion

But in fact the way how he describes morality and our motivation, it is just slightly different from the other theories where self-interest can play part of morality. The difference is that Kant believes that self-interest is the same as selfishness. On the other hand Aristotle and Plato know that self-interest does not necessarily mean selfishness. It is in my self-interest indeed to be moral, because I want that; therefore I would not care being moral at all if it was not good for me or if it would not make me happy. As I am rational and I know morality helps more for me, my future and the other people. I also believe that everyone should accept morality and the fact that morality is important in order to have a stable society and a stable life. Whatever a person does, he has to be WILLING to that. If one has an aim, it means one want to reach it. It would be also foolish to question one's act for the reason why one is doing it. He would say I do it because I want to do it! As I concluded before I believe that self-interest plays a very important role in morality, because the only motivation why we are alive is the will to live and the will to do things, therefore it is in our self-interest to do so, but it does not mean that we are selfish. ...read more.

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