Ethical Egoism vs Deontological Egoism

Topics: Morality, Normative ethics, Ethics Pages: 6 (2275 words) Published: August 1, 2012
3) Can Deontological Egoism avoid all the problems that confront unconstrained ethical egoism? In this essay I will argue that Deontological Egoism can rescue Unconstrained Ethical Egoism from a large number of its problems and that DE offers a more plausible and attractive Egoism theory Understanding Moral theories The goal of a moral theory is to meet certain moral principles. Various principles are argued for to be included as moral principles within a workable moral theory. We therefore can analyze the specific moral theories of Ethical Egoism and Deontological Egoism which fall under the umbrella of the Egoism class of theories and see if they take into account certain moral principles that are important in order for a theory to be plausible Unconstrained Ethical Egoism One is required to pursue one's own interests and one has no duties to the interests of others, so the foundation of one's morality in this theory is the regard of one's own self-interests as superior.Ethical Egoism is a normative moral theory, i.e. it is prescriptive and tells one what one ought to do. Normative theories offer guidance in our decisions and judgements. What are one's obligations and duties in particular situations? [2] Ethical egosim is in contrast to psychological egoism, which is a descriptive theory of psychological facts that states that human beings ultimately only desire their own interests and that even when one aids others it is only as a means to ones own ends. Ethical egoism however states that one only has a duty to ones one interests and to pursue that which is to ones own advantage exclusively. The theory says that what makes an act right is that it is to ones advantage.Unconstrained ethical egoism says that the pursuit of one's interests must be unconstrained and not to regard the interests of others , i.e "Look out for number one." [2] [2} James Rachels, The Elements of Moral Philosophy, Ethical Egoism Problems of Unconstrained Ethical Egoism 1) Conflict of Interests (of duties) The task of a moral theory is to resolve conflicts of interest, but Unconstrained Ethical Egoism offers no guidance on how to solve conflicts of interest. Moral rules are there precisely because our interests sometimes conflict. How do we solve these problems without any moral guidance? It seems that Ethical Egoism only adds to our moral problems instead of relieving them.

Argument:An adequate moral theory must provide solutions for conflicts of interest, to promote harmony amongst people Rebuttal:This concept of morality is faulty, rather conflict is part of life and we all need to struggle in order to succeed and be victorious. Thus the moralist does not have before him the task of arbitrator, rather a more accurate moral view is that the reality of life demands that people fight to come out on top. An ethical egoist feels that his view of life is closer to the truth of how things really are, no one is going to stand around and worry about the concerns of others. [2] 2) No limits on what can be moral Argument;An adequate moral theory must place limits on the extent to which one can pursue one's own interests What limits are placed on pursuit of one's own interests? Ethical egoism will likely fail the reflective equilibrium test, which has the goal of maximizing consistency in our moral beliefs and gaining deeper insight into our moral thinking and coming up with better reasons for our actions. According to Ethical egoism one need only be concerned with one's own interests, those deeds which bring one benefit e.g pleasure. What limits are placed on pursuit of one's own interests? It seems none, as the only criteria for an action is that it be in one's own interest. So if pleasure is to one's benefit then one is directed morally to pursue pleasure, wether pleasure for gained by murdering others is irrelevant. We are then faced with the uncomfortable realization that if genocide is in one's interest then it is not only permitted it is in fact...

References: [1] Keith Burgess Jackson, July 1, 2003,Social Theory and Practice [2} James Rachels, The Elements of Moral Philosophy, Ethical Egoism
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