Egoism Study guide

Topics: Individualism, Ethical egoism, Morality Pages: 7 (1013 words) Published: February 26, 2014

Plato’s Ring of Gyges
3 Parts of the Soul

Appetitive Part—Appetites (Food, Drink, Sleep, Sex)

Spirited Part—Emotional/volitional (will) Part (carries out dictates of rational)

Rational Part—Reason (to rule)

When each part performs its proper “functions properly___”, harmony is exhibited.

According to Socrates:
Human beings should seek inner harmony

When one is immoral___, s/he destroys his/her inner harmony___;

(i.e., s/he is damaged/diseased)

Disease always results in death

One who purposely does evil brings death___ upon him/herself.

Although an immoral (self-satisfied) person (outwardly) looks fine, s/he is dying on the inside.
We do wrong because we are ignorant not because we chose. (we wouldn’t choose death if we knew better so we are ignorant)

Two Types of Egoism

Descriptive _/(Psychological Egoism):

Tells what individuals are like

Prescriptive_/(Ethical Egoism):

Prescribes/recommends how individuals ought to act

Descriptive Psychological Egoism

Asserts that individuals always act for the sake of their own self interest

Self Interest =Personal Well-being/ advantage

Problem: Short-term_ or ­Long-term self-interest??? Conflict?

In its truest sense, self-interest is concerned with Long-term well-being.

Long term and short term often conflict ( humans have trouble thinking long term- they want the Rally burger) Two Types of Psychological Egoism

Actual Psychological egoism

Asserts that individuals always act in their own best interest. (people always have an angle: promotes selfishness)

Problem/Refutation: Individuals don’t always do what is best for them.

Do not have sufficient knowledge to be good or

Judge of what is in their best interest.

Weakness of Will

Motivational Psychological Egoism

Asserts that an individual’s actions are always motivated by the

desire to attain/ further their own best interest.

Problem/Refutation: Theories of motivation are difficult/ impossible to prove. Do what you think is in best interest
Do human beings truly aim for satisfaction_______, or
do humans aim for something else, but achieve satisfaction
as a side-effect______/unintended result?(do we do nice things in order to feel good)

NOTE: Even if Psychological Egoism is accepted as a valid/true psychological

theory, the origin of the tendency to be self- oriented remains contested___________________/questionable.

Innate Nature_______________________________?

Learned nurture______________________________________________________?

Prescriptive Ethical Egoism
Suggests/Prescribes that individuals ought (ought means a must for moral correctness) to act for the sake of their own Self-Interest

Self-interest = personal well-being or advantage_________.
Three Types of (Prescriptive) Ethical Egoism

Personal Ethical egoism

NOTE: This “theory” is silent on the motives/actions of others.

It is not officially a theory__, as it is not generalized

Is entirely self-centered / self-absorbed__.

Asserts that I ought to look out only for my own self interest; and

provides no guidance/commentary on what another person_____ ought to do.

Motto: “Look out for #1 (And to “heck” with everyone else!)

Individual Ethical Egoism(Philosophically weak argument – no viability) Prescribes that:
I ought to look out for my own interest. (and everyone else should look out for me too)

ALL individuals ought to look out for/serve my personal interest.

Motto: “The world revolves around me__________!”

Universal_ Ethical egoism

Prescribes that accepted individuals ought to look out for his/her own interests. Motto: “Every man for himself!” (everyone should look out for their own selves)

Evaluation of Ethical Egoism (Philosophically sound argument) Advantages ( I only have to take care of myself I don’t have to worry about other people) Encourages individual...
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