Jen's Paper

1362 WordsMar 21, 20126 Pages
Mid-term essay Prof. Wilcox In this paper I will argue that Rand gives us a compelling argument for ethical egoism. However, her reasons for ethical egoism are not the same as the ones traditional egoists purport. What I mean by this will be addressed along with my argument. My thesis is that morality and sacrifice of choice are not compatible. One cannot sacrifice his choice and yet retain moral capacity. Rand’s reasons for ethical egoism are different than those provided by the traditional egoists. The arguments used to argue against traditional egoism may be irrelevant to Rand’s argument. Her argument for ethical egoism does not seem to be motivated by the idea of self-interest. It cannot be said that Rand promotes that we become egoists because of the self-interest-- the self-interest being an end; namely that there is nothing over and beyond the self-interest. Even if we regard Rand’s argument as promoting egoistic attitude, it cannot be said that it has a shape of traditional egoism. We will see that egoist behavior, according to Rand, comes to us as a necessity. And not appropriating it would be just too much of a cost to us. Rand gives us a systematic argument against sacrificing of our choice for the ‘higher good.’ The underlying principle of her argument concerns the existential condition of a man. In showing this, Rand compares a man to an animal. Rand states “[a]n animal is equipped for sustaining its life; its sense provide it with an automatic code of action, an automatic knowledge of what is good for it or evil. It has no power to extend its knowledge or to evade it. In condition where its knowledge proves inadequate, it dies. But so long as it lives, it acts on its knowledge, with automatic safety and no power of choice, it is unable to ignore its own good, unable to decide to choose the evil act and act as its own destroyer.” (p80) It is

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