An analysis of the theory of ethical egoism

There are two main theories. Often, and most plausibly, these desires are restricted to self-regarding desires. What makes a desire self-regarding is controversial, but there are clear cases and counter-cases:

An analysis of the theory of ethical egoism

Ethical Egoism August 26, Ethical egoism is the moral doctrine that everyone ought to act to promote his or her own interests exclusively. In contrast to psychological egoismethical egoism makes a claim about how people should behave rather than how they actually behave.

For example, Rand contends that it would be absurd to claim that a husband who spends a fortune to cure his wife of an illness does so entirely on her behalf. The kinds of deeds we perform for our friends and loved ones are not to be done for everyone, however. The problem with their view is that morality concerns all individuals, and the general welfare of others, even if it is not the exclusive focus of morality, is an indispensable component of any comprehensive ethical theory.

Altruism is considered the only alternative view to ethical egoism, and once it is dismissed, ethical egoism is endorsed.

This analysis is insufficient because it omits discussion and refutation of a variety of other ethical theories. Establishing that extreme altruism is an undesirable ethical theory does not provide a sufficient basis for endorsing ethical egoism over all other alternatives.

These problems might be resolvable with further argumentation, but unfortunately, they are not the only difficulties with ethical egoism. Another is that an ethical egoist would not want ethical egoism to be universalized. Another clear problem is that ethical egoism offers no means of resolving conflicts of interest.

In such a circumstance, it would be impossible for both to pursue their own interests simultaneously, but how does one decide whose interests take priority?

Ethical egoism does not provide an answer. A final and perhaps decisive objection to ethical egoism comes from James Rachels.

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He equates ethical egoism with racism in terms of its conceptual construction. Hence, Rachels concludes that ethical egoism is an arbitrary doctrine and that others should be given the same moral consideration as ourselves because their merits and desires are comparable to our own.

Overall, ethical egoism is a widely-rejected ethical theory with few contemporary advocates. Developing ethical egoism into a coherent, functional ethical theory would require massive revision to the original principle.

Penguin Putnam, McGraw-Hill,The ethical egoist might reply that, if predominant egoism is true, ethical egoism may require less deviation from our ordinary actions than any standard moral theory.

But fit with motivation is hardly decisive; any normative theory, including ethical egoism, is intended to guide and criticize our choices, rather than simply endorse whatever we do. Ethical egoism also differs from rational egoism, which holds that it is rational to act in one's self-interest.

An analysis of the theory of ethical egoism

Ethical egoism holds, therefore, that actions whose consequences will benefit the doer can be considered ethical in this sense. Psychological Egoism EEh is a doctrine in ethics, a theory about what we morally ought to do. However, there is another doctrine -- a doctrine in psychology -- that sometimes goes by the name of "egoism".

The ethical egoist might reply that, if predominant egoism is true, ethical egoism may require less deviation from our ordinary actions than any standard moral theory. But fit with motivation is hardly decisive; any normative theory, including ethical egoism, is intended to guide and criticize our choices, rather than simply endorse whatever we do.

An analysis of the theory of ethical egoism

Ethical egoism is the view that each of us ought to pursue our own self-interest, and no-one has any obligation to promote anyone else’s interests. It is thus a normative or prescriptive theory: it is concerned with how we ought to behave.

Egoism Theory of Ethics and Corruption This paper is aimed at the analysis of the ethical dimension of corruption. In the developing countries, corruption has been established as highly prevalent. The focus is largely on the case of Mauritius.

Egoism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)