Is Altruism really Egosim?
At first glance the philosophical views of egoism and altruism seem to be completely separate of one another. The statements associated with each don’t appear to have much in common. In altruism one answers the question of morality by saying, “I ought to act in the interest of others.” While egoism suggests, “I ought to act in the interest of myself.” How can acts of selflessness be classified with acts of selfishness? I will attempt to clarify this confusion later on, but first I think it would be best to give a better definition of each of these philosophical views.
In ethical altruism the issue of morality revolves around the idea that in order to live a morally correct life one must act in the interest of others. When saying this you must understand that acting in the interest of others does not imply a reward. So the politician who donates money to a charity in order to gain favorable public opinion, is not acting in accordance with altruism. In order for his actions to be morally correct, he would have to donate the money simply because it is the right thing to do; what he wants to do. It is what he must do. I believe that an honest act of altruism is displayed infrequently. One example I can offer up would be the person who sees an ambulance drive by and for a moment prays for whoever is inside.
In ethical egoism the issue of morality revolves around the idea that people must do what is best for themselves in order to live a morally correct life. When someone strives to reach a goal and sees others as an obstacle to their success, they could be viewed as egoists. In some cases of egoism, the idea of acting out of one’s self interest sometimes even extends to overlooking other’s interests in order to satisfy your own.
In looking at these two theories you might question how anyone could confuse them. Egoism and altruism appear to be two very clear and defined ways of thinking. How do you suppose a child acts when they are born?...