• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain ethical egoism. Do you believe that it is true? Why or why not?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Explain ethical egoism. Do you believe that it is true? Why or why not? Ethical egoism is a normative theory that states, an individuals actions ought to be done from the perspective to maximize one's self-interest. Ethical egoism requires that people give special treatment to themselves, that they have a duty to serve their self-interest. Egoism holds that a person should act only when the action benefits them, and they should therefore refrain from actions when the act produces no benefits for them. When one action is wrong the opposite of the action rationally would seem to be one that is correct. If helping a person would hinder your own self-interst, this would therefore seem to make it morally permissible for a person to perform harm to others in situations where their self-intrest will benefit from the action. But, an egoistic must act in accordance with one's own eternal self-interest, therefore they are not just individuals who believe that they should always do what they like when they like, because acting in accordance with this maxim would not always necessarily benefit the person in the long-term. When we say that a person ought to do something, we are also implying is that they are capable of doing it the action. ...read more.

Middle

The "greater good" will succeed for everyone, if everyone pursues their own self-interest. Why? Because everyone knows their own needs best; or because people are more motivated when they're looking out for number one; or because charity is degrading to the recipient. Thus, to justify Ethical Egoism there needs to be a characteristic that everyone has that sets him or her above everyone else in all situations Ethical egoism might appear to differ a great deal in content from standard moral theories. Moral theories such as Kantianism, utilitarianism, and common-sense morality require that the interest of others is also a key componet of a morally One of the problems with this position is that it might not be in one's self-interest to have eveyone act from the perspective of self-interest. This 'state of nature' would not be desirable (in Hobbes' terms, life would be "beastly, brutal, and short") and so it might ultimately be in one's self-interest to enter into a contract with others that would place restraints upon self-interested actions. Ethical egoism would object to such altruistic actions, because it is indeed illogical. Such an altruistic duty implies standard of value that is actually detrimental to us, and a moral or ethical theory that directs us to act to your detriment requires a dubious moral standard of value. ...read more.

Conclusion

Any involuntary form of obligation to society lacks a self-interested justification, and that obligation which is viewed as beneficial to oneself, is by definition, no longer altruism. Finally, there is the claim that Objectivism confuses the goal or moral conduct and the standard of moral conduct -- that is, while the self (one's life) can be a goal, self-interest or reason may not necessarily be the appropriate means to that goal. The response here is that a moral goal of "life" requires a standard of rational self interest to achieve it. For example, suppose that charitable woman on the street hesitated for a second before giving money to the beggar, and asked herself - "What the goal of my actions? She might answer -"my life". She would then ask herself -- "How can I judge my actions to determine if they are compatible with my value of life?" The answer then, is "reason" as it is the only true method available to evaluate potential actions. Finally, the woman would reach the conclusion that those actions which with reason she evaluates to be most beneficial to her self-interest are right, and those against it her self-interest, are wrong. This chain of thinking presents a coherent argument for the Objectivist view of morality and ethics. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Ethics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Ethics essays

  1. What is the relationship between religion and morality?

    (Bertrand Russell) 'All the major world religions teach about the primacy of love or compassion in human relations. Religion enables people to develop in more than simply material ways and justifies a skeptical view of the materialistic culture prominent in the West.

  2. Compare and contrast Plato and Aristotle on the acquisition of ethical understanding.

    For instance, the 'guardians' were the only people who he believed should rule, and in this way were not equal to anyone else, as they had more power than their fair share. There is an obvious criticism to this, Lord Acton stated that, 'Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.'

  1. Explain how a Hindu marriage service might guide a couple in their married life?

    Some Hindus believe that they must believe their order of the Hindu scripture, and to not accept the theory that scientist have ideas with. Many modern Christians believe that the scientist are right, and that the universe began with the Big Bang.

  2. Explain what Scholars means when they say ethical statements are no more than expressions ...

    How far do you consider these views to be justified? Emotivists would justify these views as it allows everyone's opinions to be equally valid and taken into account, which promotes freedom of action amongst them. Furthermore these views have forced philosophers to consider and study the meaning of ethical statements in a deeper manner.

  1. I have raised myself to a state of affluence and some degree of reputation ...

    Franklin constantly checked himself for self improvement and his ambition manifests itself in every aspect of his early life. From these examples in Franklin's early life, we see that he has the determination, intellect, and aptitude to climb the social and economic ladder.

  2. Discuss whether moral judgments are subjective or objective

    The final approach that attempts to justify the belief in eternal and enduring moral facts is naturalism. It is claimed that human nature alone is enough to provide a solid basis for moral judgments. If its is accepted that whatever stimulates the intellectual, emotion, spiritual and physical growth of the

  1. What are the main features of Utilitarianism as an ethical theory? Examine and consider ...

    From a Christian perspective, Utilitarianism has many flaws. Utilitarianism is based on the belief that humans seek out pleasure and attempt to elude pain, however, Biblical writers suggest that happiness shouldn't be a motivating factor behind human actions. Furtherly, Utilitarianism doesn't distinguish an act where a person makes some form of self-sacrifice for the greater good from an act where a more questionable action achieves the same result.

  2. Christian Aid - A Charity Helping Poverty

    earn less and less from a trade system that is loaded against them. So Christian Aid helps the poor and sick with their Training and supplies. It was founded at the end of the second world war in 1945 by the formerly known British Churches Ecumenical Refugee Council.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work