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Ethical Egoism

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  • March 2008
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Ethical egoism

Explanation of the theory

This moral theory states that everyone should act in their own self-interest. Even though we can act in the interests of others, we should always act only in our own interests. Ethical egoist may help their friends if they believe there is a long-term payoff or benefit doing so. One's self-interest is often best followed by allowing others to pursue their self-interest as well. Sacrificing one's short-term self-interest in order to maximize one's long-term self-interest is known as "rational self-interest."

There are three types of egoism:

Personal Ethical Egoism

–"I am going to act only in my own interest, and everyone else can do whatever they want."
Individual Ethical Egoism

–"Everyone should act in my own interest."

Universal Ethical Egoism

–"Each individual should act in his or her own self interest."

My view about the theory

I believe that it's a situational theory that depends on the circumstances surrounding the issue, although people ought to maximize their own good, they seldom try to do so. I don't think that this apply all the time because if it did then it's going to result some problems as every individual would act in his/her interest which is not logical. If everyone is a consistent egoist, the egoist won't get the help they or others need. So in the interests of self-interest, an egoist must reject egoism, at least sometimes; in other words, the egoist must be inconsistent. The egoist really doesn't want everyone to be selfish all the time, because ethical egoism, if took over universally, would lead to undesirable social consequences.

Classifying the theory

Ethical egoism claims that the egoist holds the rightness of the actions that is determined by cost or worthiness of the consequence that affects the cause of the action .So it must be considered as consequential theory.

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