Altruism Vs Utilitarianism

1114 Words 5 Pages
Selfishness vs. Altruism
There are many moral theories in the study of ethics, however no two theories are quite as different as utilitarianism and ethical egoism. In this essay I will be exploring the utilitarian approach and the ethical egoist approach to morality, showing their strength and weakness, and finally explaining why the utilitarian approach is a better moral theory.
The Utilitarian Approach Utilitarianism is a consequential moral theory that focuses on producing the most pleasure in the world and decreasing misery. Utilitarianism has many positive points. One of which is impartiality. Utilitarianism does not place one person’s well-being above the rest, everyone’s importance is a level playing field. Also, utilitarianism
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Therefore utilitarianism is not the correct moral theory (151).
Utilitarians have three responses to this argument. The first is that justice is intrinsically valuable, however we should always give the priority to well-being. The other is that injustice is never optimific, meaning that it will never produce well-being. The last is justice must sometimes be sacrificed in order to preserve well-being. Even though the last argument seems to discredit utilitarianism, I think it is safe to say that utilitarianism is a sound moral theory
The Ethical Egoist Approach Ethical Egoism is the opposite of the utilitarian approach. Rather than focus on everyone’s well-being, the ethical egoist believe our moral duty is to improve our own lives and well-being above all others. One argument commonly used to defend ethical egoism is called the Self-Reliance Argument. It states the following:
The most effective way of making everyone better off is for each person to mind his own business, and tend only to his own needs.
We ought to take the most effective path to making everyone better off.
Therefore, we each ought to mind our own business and tend only to our own needs (Shafer-Landau
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Ethical egoism also has many problems within itself that I don’t believe the theory should be taken seriously. Ethical egoism goes against our common sense of what it right and wrong. Utilitarianism, on the other hand, has a good base for a moral theory. Although it has its own disadvantages, those disadvantages can be tweaked and disprove. Utilitarianism also allows to change our moral perspective with each situation, which is what most people do in everyday life. Therefore, I believe that because the problems with ethical egoism, utilitarian perspective seems to be a better, more realistic, moral

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