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The Role of Altruism in Ethical Conduct and an Egoist Explanation - Research Paper Example

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The paper describes a code of ethics that, for instance, ought to be followed but is impossible in reality, in fact, cannot be valid. Thus, the question of whether every human action is selfish is an immediately relevant question for those who adopt altruism as the best policy…
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The Role of Altruism in Ethical Conduct and an Egoist Explanation
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Download file to see previous pages Beyond defining specifically what constitutes true self-interest, it may be useful to account for the evolutionary aspect of selfishness and happiness. Since every individual organism is driven toward the single-minded goal of reproducing, as a simplified notion of natural selection states, there is a certain degree of single-minded selfishness inherent to our contemporary models of evolution. This is because animals (including humans) are hardwired to survive no matter what the costs; thus, chronic altruism will negatively affect an animal’s chances of surviving long enough to reproduce. If we naively apply this to the theory of ethics, we might be moved to believe that we are basically motivated by our own self-interest. Without looking at research that points to the role of altruism in the promotion of certain genes within a community, our intuitions about the nature of evolution point to the conclusion that, in a majority of cases especially relating to individuals with whom we share many genes, selfish is the most appropriate policy. Even in cases where altruism may help us further our genes, for example by sacrificing ourselves for a family member, the motivation is a selfish one that depends on the self’s interest in expanding one’s genetic influence within the community. This argument from science leads to an argument from common sense: the thought that we see selfish behaviour far more often than we see non-selfish behaviour. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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