Psychological and Ethical Egoism - Research Paper Example

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The paper "Psychological and Ethical Egoism " states that selfishness is a behavior, which totally ignores others needs even when the needs should be considered. Thus, it is doing things for one’s satisfaction. Self-interest is basically doing a thing for our own advantage in order to prosper…
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Psychological and Ethical Egoism
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Ethical egoism is basically the rigid and normative doctrine, which claims that an individual should constantly look for his or her own welfare. The basic idea is that the welfare of every individual is the only valuable thing for that individual. Psychological egoism is an observed doctrine, which claims that the decisive motive for an individual’s voluntary action comes from the desire for his or her own welfare. Although all the actions taken are considered to be self-interested actions, an egoist promptly demonstrates that people generally try concealing their decisive motives for the actions and such concealment is normally done for their own self-interest. (Kirkpatrick, 2006)
Psychological egoism is based completely on ones motivation that is a very private and personal matter and is sometimes attributed to the theory of selfishness. Thus, it suffers from generalization forcing it into fallacy. As psychological egoism claims that most actions are selfish, even an apparently selfless action sometimes becomes a selfish action. Ethical egoism has two versions, stronger and weaker. Although the weaker version states that it is moral to endorse one’s interests but contradicts itself by saying that even if one does not endorse one’s interests it is not necessarily immoral. The stronger version clears the problem, of how it is moral to endorse one’s own interests and still not moral to do so, by clearly stating that it is right to follow one’s self- interest and immoral not to do so. Thus, the strong version affirms that it is moral to pursue one’s well being and never moral not to do so, while the weak version claims that though it is moral to pursue one’s well being, the opposite is not always accurate. (Szabados, 2004)
The most basic and important difference between the two is in their principle statement. While ethical egoism states how certain things ought to be and how people should think, psychological egoism states how certain things are and how people actually think. Ethical egoism approves of cooperative behavior but psychological egoism cannot do that. It only believes in working for oneself to achieve maximum result completely leaving out cooperation with others. While Ethical egoism is normative, psychological egoism is descriptive. Ethical egoism proposes that we should do things for our own best interest but psychological egoism claims that we constantly do things only for our self-interest. (Kirkpatrick, 2006)
Based on its doctrines of motivation, psychological egoism is motivated by selfishness and believes that selfishness is human nature. But doing the right thing motivates ethical egoism. Doctrine of motivation for ethical egoism believes that self-interest and morality are embedded in the same thing. With ethical egoism one can complete a selfless act, but not with psychological egoism, if not, it means endorsing one’s self-interest. Selfishness is a behavior, which totally ignores others needs even when the needs should be considered. Thus, it is doing things for one’s satisfaction. Self-interest is basically doing a thing for our own advantage in order to prosper. Ethical and psychological egoism slightly resemble each another, but it is evident from their motivating factors that they are quite dissimilar. (Szabados, 2004)
Kirkpatrick, Jerry; 2006; In Defense of Advertising: Arguments from Reason, Ethical Egoism, and Laissez-faire Capitalism; Edition: 2; TLJ Books
Szabados, Béla & Eldon Soifer; 2004; Hypocrisy: Ethical Investigations; Broadview Press Read More
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