Ethical Egoism Essay

433 Words2 Pages
Ethical Egoism We will be discussing the strengths and weaknesses of ethical egoism, but before we begin we first must understand what ethical egoism is and what is involved. Ethical egoism is the normative ethical position that moral agents ought to do what is in their own self-interest. It differs from psychological egoism, which claims that people can only act in their self-interest. Ethical egoism also differs from rational egoism, which holds that it is rational to act in one's self-interest. Ethical egoism contrasts with ethical altruism, which holds that moral agents have an obligation to help others. Egoism and altruism both contrast with ethical utilitarianism, which holds that a moral agent should treat one's self with no higher regard than one has for others as egoism does, by elevating self-interests and the self to a status not granted to others, but that one also should not as altruism does sacrifice one's own interests to help others' interests, so long as one's own interests (i.e. one's own desires or well-being) are substantially equivalent to the others' interests and well-being. Egoism, utilitarianism, and altruism are all forms of consequentialism, but egoism and altruism contrast with utilitarianism, in that egoism and altruism are both agent-focused forms of consequentialism (i.e. subject-focused or subjective), but utilitarianism is called agent-neutral (i.e. objective and impartial) as it does not treat the subject's (i.e. the self's, i.e. the moral "agent's") own interests as being more or less important than the interests, desires, or well-being of others. Ethical egoism has two flaws which can be seen. The first is that it does not consider moral duties or any prima facie goods beyond personal happiness. Without consideration of moral duties there is no moral framework to stop one from killing others
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