Ethical Egoism as Moral Theory

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Thesis:
Without a distinct framework, ethical egoism fails as a moral theory to assist moral decision making because it endorses the animalistic nature of humanity, fails to provide a viable solution to a conflict of interest, and is proved to be an evolutionary unstable moral strategy.

Outline:
Ethical egoism claims that all our actions can be reduced to self-interest. This is a controversial moral theory which sometimes can be detrimental. Without a well-defined framework of the nature of self-interest, ethical egoism enlarges the animalistic nature of humanity in which can result in unfavorable consequences. Ethical egoism also fails to provide a solution when a conflict of interest arises. By only acting out of one’s self interest, ethical egoism also deems to be an evolutionary unstable moral theory.

Ethical Egoism As a Moral Theory
Identifying fundamental principles about ethics and morality has always been a major concern across humanity as a whole. Many are familiar with statements like those of ‘common sense morality’ and utilitarianism, but perhaps among the most controversial of these statements is ethical egoism. Ethical egoism is a normative theory on how we ought to behave, that we have no moral duty except to do what is best for ourselves. It advocates morality based on self-interest. In Rachels’ Ethical Egoism, the author proposes different arguments in favor and against ethical egoism as a moral theory but only come to a conclusion that ethical egoism is “unacceptably arbitrary” and fails to treat everyone equally. Without a distinct framework, ethical egoism fails as a moral theory to assist moral decision making because it endorses the animalistic nature of humanity, fails to provide a viable solution to a conflict of interest, and is proved to be an evolutionary unstable moral strategy. Ethical egoism does not provide a moral basis for the nature of self-interest or solving conflicts between people. An ethical theory should set forth a ground such that it can constitute for a principle of morality. We should be able to agree that this theory of ethics is moral and has moral principles. However, in the case of ethical egoism, it advocates that all men ought to act from their self-interest but does not clearly state the nature of the ‘self-interest’. For all we know, when one acts out of his/her self-interest, it can very well be something that is morally incorrect. Does the theory still hold when a rapist raped a girl and think it is in his best interest to kill the girl so he won’t get caught? On a certain level, ethical egoism does not only fail to take into account the nature of ‘self-interest’ but also endorse wrong-doings and mischievousness. In Haidt’s The Felicity of Virtue, the author claims that philosophers like Plato and Kant believe that human beings have a dual nature: part animal and part rational. The animal part follows the law of nature where there is “no morality” and only causality whereas the rational part “respect rules of conduct, and so people can be judged morally for the degree to which they respect the right rules” (Haidt, 162). This animal nature illustrates exactly how ethical egoism can endorse selfishness because ethical egoism resides on the animalistic human nature and does not recommend the rational part of human beings. Without a solid ground for moral basis and taking account into rational nature of morality, ethical theory fails to constitute as a moral theory. Ethical theory fails to provide a solution when there is a conflict of interest. A moral theory is a system which we determine the right and wrong conduct, and how we ought to behave in a certain way, however, ethical egoism doesn’t fulfill its duty as a moral theory. Ethical egoism claims that all our actions can be reduced to self-interest and acting against it is immoral. On a larger level, ethical egoism is subjective and in a way somewhat solipsistic. It doesn’t contemplate other’s...
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