Saturday, September 28, 2019

Psychological and Ethical Egoism Essay

Egoism is a general term for the acknowledgement of human self-interest as a basis of action. There are several proponents of this theory. Basically it is a philosophical notion that was popularized by Hobbes. Whatever action that an individual would take is pursuant of his/her own self. This theory has famously been separated into two types. The first one is ethical egoism and the second is called psychological egoism. Ethical egoism talks about morality as the basis of action in order to uplift the person himself, while psychological egoism states that all of our actions are basically rooted on self-interest. Accordingly, psychological egoism is devised out of observation of common human behavior. A clear demarcation between the two lies on its structure, Ethical egoism is more prescriptive. On the other hand, Psychological egoism is descriptive or observational (Rachels, 2003). The Fallacy in Psychological Egoism Although Psychological egoism seems to be perfectly valid, it was widely refuted with respect to the fallacies that it had committed. One of the fallacies that can be found in the principles of psychological egoism, upon critical examination, would be the fallacy of â€Å"hasty generalization or converse accident†. According to some critics, the fallacy was rooted on confirming that indeed all human acts are self-interested due to the different instances that prove otherwise. This includes the fact that most people do actions that would damage or harm themselves such as smoking, self-mutilation and sometimes suicide. Also there are several altruistic behaviors that do not really come from self-interest. There are other things or notions such as conscience which also have an effect on one’s action. If those who supports psychological egoism would argue that all actions whether it be an act of conscience or an act that hurts oneself is also form of psychological egoism in itself, then there are no actions whatsoever that is not a form of psychological egoism (Rachels, 2003). Thus, it will result to a fallacy of tautology. It cannot be verified or established if an action is indeed a form of psychological egoism because there are no other actions aside from a psychologically egoistic act. Two Sides of Ethical Egoism The weak version of ethical egoism takes on the side of the probability of â€Å"altruistic behavior†. However, they have specified that although they acknowledge that the person does benevolent actions, nevertheless, they maintain that the action is still in accordance to or made with respect to the individuals’ own interest. One would like to do good because doing good makes him/her feels good. The strong version denies the presence of altruistic behavior. It asserts that in any circumstances, the individual would act in accordance to his/her self-interest despite the fact that it is in the form of benevolence. (Lander University, 2006) Major Similarities and Their Differnces Thus, as presented above, ethical egoism differs from psychological egoism in the sense that ethical egoist incorporates morality as a basis for human actions. It expresses the human self-interest in the sense of the goodness or the rightness of the act. Psychological egoism, do not try to tell us what we should do, but instead states that whatever actions that we have is basically an expression of our self-interest, the individual does not need to be moral or does not have to subscribe to morality (Rachels, 2003). Motivations In ethical egoism, the motivation lies on the person’s desires to do or aspire for something good or right. This is applicable when one is acting in able to help other people because it is in his nature to do so, as explained by David Hume. On the other hand, in psychological egoism, the motivation rest on the person’s or individual’s preference for self-interest. Psychologically egoistic behavior can best be interpreted when the individual is doing something in exchange of something that would benefit or would be in reference to his/her personal interest. Largely, those actions that are psychologically egoistic are selfish acts while those that fall under the ethical egoist are actions from self-interest. (Mosley, 2006) Selfishness versus Self-interest Selfishness is manifested through personal advantages, mostly sacrificing others in favor of one’s own self. Self-interest is promoting one’s interest either for the benefit of himself or of other people as well. Self-interest differs from selfishness in the sense that self-interest does not necessarily points toward selfishness because certain actions that would benefit one or would comprise self-interest may actually be altruistic actions. There are instances wherein you have to be helpful to other people in order for you to proceed towards your egoistic goals. Also there are some actions whether it is for oneself or for the sake of others that are not relevant basis in suggesting that it is selfish act or a self-interested act. For instance there were actions such as eating or drinking that can be classified as either a form of selfishness or a form of self-interest. As presented, the major key in understanding the points and relevance of each position lies on the individuals understanding of the term selfishness and acting for or out of self-interest. (Mosley, 2003) Reference

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