Explain the difference between psychological and ethical egoism, and why Rachels rejects both of these theories. Do you think his arguments are convincing? Why, or why not?
Psychological egoism: all men are selfish in everything that they do; the only motive from which anyone ever acts is self interest Even if what they do is benefiting others, they are to believe that whatever they are doing is actually to their own benefit
Ethical egoism: a normative view about how men ought to act. Regardless how men behave, they have no obligation to do anything except what is in their own interest A person is always justified in doing whatever
Rachels describes three consequences of cultural relativism (about morality) which he says provide strong reasons to reject the theory. Explain this argument of his. Do you think that the argument really does provide a good reason to reject cultural relativism? Why, or why not?
Cultural relativists (what they think)
Different cultures have different moral codes
the idea of universal truth is a myth, no standard can be used to judge all people There is no objective standard in judging which society code is better The moral code of a specific society has no special status, it is only one amongst many The moral code of a certain culture only determines what is right within that specific society It is arrogant of us to judge the conduct of other people, we should tolerate the moral codes of other cultures Every standard has a cultural bond
William Graham Sumner: The right way is the way of the ancestors, the tradition is the warrant Cultural relativism has challenged the thinking of ethics more than any other topic
6 ideas stand independently even though they all sound very much related to one another, some might be true even if others are false
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