Ethical Egoism as Moral Theory Essay

1230 Words Nov 10th, 2012 5 Pages
Thesis:
Without a distinct framework, ethical egoism fails as a moral theory to assist moral decision making because it endorses the animalistic nature of humanity, fails to provide a viable solution to a conflict of interest, and is proved to be an evolutionary unstable moral strategy.

Outline: Ethical egoism claims that all our actions can be reduced to self-interest. This is a controversial moral theory which sometimes can be detrimental. Without a well-defined framework of the nature of self-interest, ethical egoism enlarges the animalistic nature of humanity in which can result in unfavorable consequences. Ethical egoism also fails to provide a solution when a conflict of interest arises. By only acting out of one’s self
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Ethical egoism claims that all our actions can be reduced to self-interest and acting against it is immoral. On a larger level, ethical egoism is subjective and in a way somewhat solipsistic. It doesn’t contemplate other’s feelings but our own. If my neighbor is abusing their child everyday, but the act itself does not affect me or do me any harm or good, so according to ethical egoism, it is not in my best interest to interfere. The theory is stated such that each man believes everyone should act out of their best interest, however; it might not be in one’s self interest to have everyone act from the perspective of their self-interests. In fact, Plato used the example of Gyges’ Ring to illustrate that when “one thinks that he can safely be unjust, there he is unjust, for any men believe in their hearts that injustice is far more profitable to the individual than justice” (Plato, 547). If a starving child and a naughty child both find a candy on the street, it is in both their interest to fight for the candy because eating the candy make them both happy. In this case, who should have the candy? Philosopher Plato’s brother, Glaucon actually hypothesized that egotistic power seeking might be the ‘ideal state of existence’ but quickly refuted because others might seek the same power, “which would interfere with our freedom and cause a state of chaos in which no one was likely to have any desire fulfilled”

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