Plato's View Of Ethical Egoism As A Philosophy Of Life

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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 …show more content…
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 relationship of her philosophy to ethical egoism?

Ayn Rand is an American novelist and philosopher that immigrated from Russia to the United States because she was against communism. Her theory of objective ethics argues that “reason sets us apart from all other species” and because “reason is necessary for our survival, reason has moral value for humans” (Boss, p. 209). Rand uses The Fountainhead to describe how man must use his brain because he does not have claws, teeth or great strength to hunt for his food. The relationship of objectivist ethics to ethical egoism is rooted in “individuality rather than social virtues” (Boss, p.
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What is the best argument FOR ethical egoism, in your view? Are we all so saturated, psychologically and socially, with the reigning philosophy of “get yours before someone else does” hyper-individualistic capitalism that “ethical egoism” seems “natural” to us? (I find at least a handful of students refuse to believe that Ayn Rand’s short paperback book, The Virtue of Selfishness, quite seriously written, exists!)

No, Boss is not too harsh on ethical egoism. I have seen too many individuals across several settings (military, higher education, corporate, and non-profit) looking out for themselves first, even when it adversely affected the lives of others. I do not have an argument for ethical egoism because I have always put myself last and made sure that everyone else around me has been successful, safe, and cared for well. I do not see a way that I can put aside my feelings to argue for something that I believe isn’t right. I do see that many individuals in society are natural with the “me first” approach. I wonder if they find it easier to accept it than to challenge

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