Mencius Vs. Glaucon's Support Of Psychological Egoism

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In this essay, I will argue that Mencius’ altruistic position and four dispositions offer more precise explanations of human motivation than Glaucon’s support of psychological egoism. I contend that humans all have the capacity to partake in moral acts (e.g., helping kin and others, altruism, combatting injustice, etc.). Glaucon’s defense of psychologically egoistic motivation is only useful to recognize that human beings harbor a degree of self-preservation (i.e., to guard oneself from harm and fatality). I will first describe both Glaucon and Mencius’ assertions and the examples they used to substantiate their claims. Second, I will discuss how their fundamental concepts differ. Last, I will detail why Mencius’ argument maintains the most …show more content…
He believes that human motivation is determined by altruism and “all people possess within them a moral sense that cannot bear the suffering of others.” In this sense, humankind is universally empathetic towards the pain of others and may be motivated to act without thinking and assuage this suffering. To back this notion, Mencius’ thought experiment pertains to a child falling down a well. If this is witnessed, Mencius argues, all humans will feel alarmed, empathetic, and want to aid the child not because of any social benefit but because humans inherently understand this as the right thing to do. Mencius also presents four “moral senses.” He describes, “the sense of commiseration is the seed of humanity, the sense of shame is the seed of righteousness, the sense of deference is the seed of ritual, and the sense of right and wrong is the seed of wisdom.” All four of these senses may or may not motive one to act upon these dispositions, however, every human can feel and/or act on them. Hence, all humans have the motivational capacity to engage with moral …show more content…
Glaucon’s defense of psychological egoism (i.e., instrumental self-interest) is insubstantial. Whilst, human beings do maintain levels of self-preservation, these aspects do not negate any instances of altruistic behavior in society. In this sense, self-preservation is present, whether consciously and/or unconsciously, as humans naturally attempt to keep from harm and fatality. However, if this facet dominated all moral thought, judgment, and cognition, why would ostensibly ubiquitous feelings of altruistic helping behavior motive anyone to action, or happen at all? To support my assertions, I turn briefly to evolutionary psychology. The Theory of Mind (ToM) is believed to have become present quite early in our evolutionary bush. ToM allows one to understand and bestow mental states to others, a necessary tool in understanding self and differences amongst the social body. ToM also provides the means for realization that others have differing opinions than your own. Therefore, instrumental self-interest and psychological egoism is undermined by an inherent, or even slight, consideration of the other; a motivation that ToM provides evolutionarily to promote cohesion and awareness in our social constructions. It is only natural that moral urges involuntarily motivate humans. Without them, our social proclivities would be disrupted

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