Psychological Egoism

Topics: Morality, Altruism, English-language films Pages: 4 (1517 words) Published: April 22, 2007
Psychological egoism is the theory that voluntary actions are always motivated by a reward to oneself, whether directly or indirectly. Some people immediately object to the theory because there are plenty of cases where people help others when there seems to be no reward. A proponent of psychological egoism would stress that there seems to be no reward, and that the person is in fact benefiting in some way. In many cases, the proponent of psychological egoism would offer that the "good feeling" a person gets after helping someone is the reward they were seeking, and thus the reason they helped the other person. Another possibility is that a person will help someone else because he or she sees some future benefit for helping, such as future protection. Ultimately, psychological egoism sees any kind of voluntary action as selfish in nature.

Hobbes believed that men with complete freedom, in the absence of government or a police force, are in the "State of Nature." The state of nature is an amoral state in which there is no just and unjust because there is nothing to hold men to such standards. It is a state of complete chaos in a world of moderate scarcity. Because there are no rules for morality, the drive for self-preservation reigns supreme in our actions. Thus, if two men independently discover a food source sufficient for one, they will inevitably fight over the food. In the absence of a moral code, it is likely that one man will kill the other to ensure his own life and meal. Not only does he get the food, but the other competitor is no longer able to challenge him in the future and the victor has secured his self-preservation for the time being. Hobbes argues that in the state of nature, men seek power in order to acquire and protect objects of their desires and ensure security from others. The easiest method of obtaining power in the state of nature is violence, because, according to Hobbes, men are roughly equal in strength and intelligence...
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