Egoism

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Egoism

  1. 1. Egoism “ Someone said me, and there was nothing to be gained by saying us.” Ian McEwan
  2. 2. Ethical Egoism <ul><li>Idea that you should do whatever you need to do for YOUR greatest good. </li></ul><ul><li>This does not mean that ethical egoism is seen as ‘egotistical’, ‘narcissistic’ or ‘selfish’. </li></ul><ul><li>To be selfish you would have to think that such behavior is in your best interest. </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore if judging modesty and being considerate for others could be the best way to act for your own interest. </li></ul><ul><li>This leads to recognizing the need to co-operate with others and to act ‘morally’ for your own best interest. </li></ul><ul><li>So in other words, by being moral you are benefiting yourself. </li></ul><ul><li>Someone who sees things like this is known as an ‘enlightened egoist’ </li></ul>
  3. 3. Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) <ul><li>Adopted an ‘enlighted egoist’ position </li></ul><ul><li>‘ state of nature ’ = each person pursues what benefits themselves </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid pain, seek pleasure </li></ul><ul><li>This leads to ‘war of every man against every man’ </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore its rational for everyone to follow rules requiring co-operation between everyone (social contract) </li></ul><ul><li>To agree to follow these rules is rational, only as long as you can rely on others to do as well </li></ul><ul><li>Egoist should actually want to follow moral behavior to avoid getting harmed by other egoists. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Psychological Egoism <ul><li>Being primarily motivated by self interest </li></ul><ul><li>It is by NATURE that humans are self-interested </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore if it is natural than we should have the right to seek for self-interest / own benefit </li></ul><ul><li>All motives must ultimately be egotistical. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Criticism <ul><li>If we follow the idea of human nature it shouldn’t mean we then have to follow that we are morally obliged to act in our own self interest. </li></ul><ul><li>David Hume – sympathetic concern for others as strong as a feeling of self interest. </li></ul><ul><li>Looking at Psychological Egoism if there is only selfish acts than there can be no difference in not being selfish. </li></ul><ul><li>Kant believed Ethical Egoism is self-contradictory because if everyone was selfish then it becomes inconsistent because someone would be a fool to be any other way. </li></ul><ul><li>Asking for advice goes against ethical egoism because if we should only do what suites us best than we shouldn’t have to ask for advice on what to do. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Kurt Baier – egoists are “self centred, inconsiderate, unfeeling, unprincipled, ruthless, self- aggrandizers, pursuers of the good things in life what ever the cost to others, people who think only about themselves or, if about others, then merely as a means to their own ends” 1997 </li></ul><ul><li>Hume: moral sentiment and feelings that engage us in concern for others – love, friendship, compassion and gratitude play roles -influenced by them – psychological egoism fails to account for this </li></ul><ul><li>No single cause for behaviour – humans more complex- memories, future , how others treat me, experiences, </li></ul><ul><li>Hume – not clear that desire is in our interest to satisfy – self destructive – vanity, smoking etc </li></ul><ul><li>Should we recognise that others are instrumental to our own satisfaction – care for others?? Altruism </li></ul>

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