Plato’s story of Gyge’s ring tells of a shepherd that finds a gold ring carrying the power to make its owner invisible. Gyge’s uses the ring for his personal gain by going invisible to murder the king and take over the kingdom. Plato’s story suggests “that it is more reasonable to be unjust – if we have the opportunity to do so without getting caught” and concludes that “if a just man and an unjust man both wore the same ring … their actions would be no different” (Boss, p. 201). Ethical egoism as a philosophy of living would involve a person living based on their own interests in search of happiness. According to Boss (2014), ethical egoism revolves around one’s self-interests and “involves taking into consideration both the short-term and long-term consequences of our actions,” while hedonism “is concerned with our immediate pleasures” (p. 203).
2) What is Hobbes theory of human nature (as deduced from his writing in the Leviathan) and how has it shaped our view of ethical egoism?
Hobbes claims that “people are basically selfish, aggressive, and quarrelsome” and “abide by the rules of society … only because it benefits us” (Boss, p. 204). He supports this claim through examples of what people do and how it makes them feel. For example, pity or sympathy comes from a reminder that the misfortunes of others can happen to us also.
3) Who is Ayn Rand and what is her theory of “objectivist ethics” (as found in the excerpt from The Fountainhead)? What is the…