Ethics of Egoisms

Topics: Ethical egoism, Egoism, Altruism Pages: 4 (1120 words) Published: May 3, 2013
I cannot help but conclude that Mother Teresa
would have done much more good for the poor
had she become something useful,
like a prostitute or a drug dealer, or better still,
a banker or the head of a multi-national corporation.
-Robert White, in The Diabolical Works of Mother Teresa

Ethical egoism is a normative theory which claims that all persons ought to act out of their own self-interest. Classification
Ethical egoism can be broadly divided into three categories: individual, personal, and universal. An individual ethical egoist would hold that all people should do whatever benefits them; a personal ethical egoist would hold that he or she should act in his or her self-interest, but would make no claims about what anyone else ought to do; a universal ethical egoist would argue that everyone should act in ways that are in their self-interest. History

Ethical egoism was introduced by the philosopher Henry Sidgwick in 1874. He compared egoism to the philosophy of utilitarianism, writing that whereas utilitarianism sought to maximize overall pleasure, egoism focused only on maximizing individual pleasure. Three Arguments in Favor of Ethical Egoism

1. The Argument from Altruism
The "argument from altruism" starts with three assumptions:
We are not situated well with respect to knowing the interests of others. Since we cannot know other's interests, we are likely to bungle in our attempts to help others. We are, however, in a good position to know our own interests. Helping others is invasive Helping others is degrading, it says that they are not competent to care for themselves From these assumptions we get the following argument: (1) We ought to do whatever will promote the interests of everyone alike (2) The interests of others are best promoted if each of us adopts the policy of pursuing our own interests (3) Thus, each of us should adopt the policy of pursuing our own interests exclusively Rachel's response is simple. The above...
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