October 8, 2012
Chapter 7 Discussion Questions
1.) Psychological egoism is not an ethical theory, but a descriptive view about human behavior. Given this, how might the truth of psychological egoism have implications on ethics?
Ethics is a requirement for human life. It is our means of deciding a course of action. Without it, our actions would be random and aimless. There would be no way to work towards a goal because there would be no way to pick between a limitless numbers of goals. Even with an ethical standard, we may be unable to pursue our goals with the possibility of success. To the degree which a rational ethical standard is taken, we are able to correctly organize our goals and actions to accomplish our most important values. Any flaw in our ethics will reduce our ability to be successful in our endeavors. Since psychology and morality are related, moral theories must be psychologically realistic which consequently includes behaviorally/motivationally realistic. This correlation between our cognitive processes and our resulting behavior are two variables of ethics that must be considered and thereby examined closely. While psychological egoism isn’t an ethical theory and rather discusses our motivation for certain behaviors, we still find the connection to this example and examples from previous chapters.
Let’s consider the chapters on Hedonism and the connection between our pursuit of happiness and the consequential behavior that is then elicited; as well as the natural law theory which persuades followers to behave naturally. In both cases these behaviors were motivated by our understanding of what’s moral and what’s immoral. It’s essential to make the distinction between the theories themselves and the resulting behavior that’s performed.. The discussion of our ethical considerations, however, goes “hand in hand” with our behaviors because without one, it’s impractical to consider the other. These ideas are...