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Ethical and Psychological Egoism - Term Paper Example

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The author identifies and describes the theories of Ethical Egoism which is the assertion that people should always act selfishly or in their own self-interest and Psychological Egoism, which is the claim that self-interest or selfishness is the ultimate motivation of human action.     …
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Ethical and Psychological Egoism
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Download file to see previous pages “First, Hume argues that self-interest opposes moral sentiments that may engage one in concern for others, and, may motivate one’s actions for others. These moral sentiments include love, friendship, compassion, and gratitude. Second, psychological egoism attempts to reduce human motivation to a single cause, which is a ‘fruitless’ task—the "love of simplicity…has been the source of much false reasoning in philosophy." Third, it is evident that animals act benevolently towards one another, and, if it is admitted that animals can act altruistically, then how can it be denied in humans? Fourth, the concepts we use to describe benevolent behavior cannot be meaningless; sometimes an agent obviously does not have a personal interest in the fortune of another, yet will wish her well. Any attempt to create an imaginary vested interest, as the psychological egoist will attempt, proves futile. Fifth, Hume asserts that we have prior motivations to self-interest; we may have, for example, a predisposition towards vanity, fame, or vengeance that transcends any benefit to the agent. Finally, Hume claims that even if the selfish hypothesis were true, there are a sufficient number of dispositions to generate a wide possibility of moral actions, allowing one person to be called vicious and another humane; and he claims that the latter is to be preferred over the former.”  (Moseley, 2006). Moseley (2006) explains the weak and strong versions of Ethical Egoism as follows: “In the strong version, it is held that it is always moral to promote one’s own good, and it is never moral not to promote it. In the weak version, it is said that although it is always moral to promote one’s own good, it is not necessarily never moral to not. That is, there may be conditions in which the avoidance of personal interest may be a moral action.”The strong version does not allow a suitable place for altruistic actions or for actions in favor of the interest of others, and it can even hold self-destructive actions like suicide if taken up to its ultimate implications. The weak version is more flexible and realistic as it allows some space for altruistic actions or for actions that can help the welfare of others.    ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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