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

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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.

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