Psychological egoism and ethical egoism

Topics: Morality, Logic, Egoism Pages: 3 (933 words) Published: March 29, 2004
Human beings put so much value on other people's interests. They find that if they satisfy their hunger for helping others, they (in turn) will have satisfaction for themselves. This was shown in Mother Teresa's giving to others without taking anything back. However, as with everything else, there are exceptions. I know many people (i.e. car salesman ha-ha) that have only their interests in mind when they are taking action. This brings us to the discussion of the difference between psychological egoism and ethical egoism and my position upon ethical egoism.

I will begin by defining both psychological and ethical egoism. I will then state the counterexamples/arguments against it, and finally critically assess my position on ethical. Psychological egoism, as Dr. Belcher describes it is, "Psychological egoism is the claim that humans are (and can be) motivated only by selfish desires or that humans can pursue only their own self-interests." This means that every action that helps others turns into a selfish one because the action gives satisfaction or happiness to the human that performs the action. There are many counterexamples of this theory. I will give two: First, all actions are motivated by desires, therefore in seeking desires, I am doing what is in my interest. Secondly, we seek our own happiness; therefore our desires seek happiness not selfishness. Next, I will give arguments against psychological egoism. First, the argument is flawed in onto itself. When humans choose to pursue their own interests, who is to say that these interests are selfish (selfish being a purely subjective term). Secondly, if an action gives pleasure to a human, it does not necessarily mean that the human set out to get pleasure. Psychological egoism, although on first glance, may seem logical; it is flawed in its own arguments.

Ethical egoism is the theory that the promotion of one's own good is in accordance with morality. It is what one "ought" to do. In the strong version...
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