An argument against egoism

But ethical egoism can be seen as making categorical ought-claims. MacKinnon adds that, "Even if it were shown that we often act for the sake of our own interest, this is not enough to prove that psychological egoism is true. Humans have a social character that ethical egoism may cause them to seek to buck.

Perhaps morality need not be practical at all: An ethical egoist could challenge whatever constraint is deployed against her.

An argument against egoism evolutionary theory plausibly uncovers this sort of gene-centered story for many features of organisms. The Elements of Moral Philosophy, 4th ed.

Say the cost to me of saving a drowning person is getting my shirtsleeve wet. An ethical egoist might reply by taking the cooperation argument further. The problem is that, as the discussion of the cooperation argument shows, it also fails to fit some of the confident moral judgments we make.

Second, Elliot Sober and David Wilson argue that evolutionary theory supports altruism. Is there any telling argument against ethical egoism? For discussion of the cooperation argument, see Frank ; Gauthier ch. The problem is that our most confident judgments about rational action seem to be captured by a different, extremely popular theory — the instrumental theory of rationality.

One approach or group of theories is known as being Teleological. The heart of the debate then is whether there are other reasons to prefer one view over the other. Focuses primarily on Sober and Wilson as well as Batson, arguing that psychological evidence has advanced the debate more than evolutionary arguments, though both are currently inconclusive.

Java scripts programmed by johnarchie emeraldis. Reprinted inLondon: It would follow that for me, a distinction between my welfare and that of others would be arbitrary, and the rational egoist claim that each ought to maximize his own welfare would be unjustified when applied to me.

The main problem is that such arguments tell us nothing about which desires are ultimate. If so, I need not care specially about some of my future selves, since they will not have these connections to me.

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But this revision would plausibly make the argument question-begging. Parfit gives two main arguments against rational egoism. I may have a duty to help others, and the world might be better if I helped others, but it does not follow that I am better off by helping others.

The word "selfish" would lose all meaning because there would be, by definition, no act that is not selfish. The key passage is the following: Moralists aim primarily not at knowledge but at the ability to draw, on their own, true moral conclusions from the evidence.A fourth argument against ethical egoism is just that: ethical egoism does not count as a moral theory.

One might set various constraints on a theory's being a moral theory. Many of these constraints are met by ethical egoism — the formal constraints, for example, that moral claims must be prescriptive and universalizable. Mar 12,  · In his essay “Ethical Egoism,” James Rachels even-handedly considers several arguments for and against Ethical Egoism (the moral position that one only ought to do what is in one’s best interests) before concluding that only his own argument against Ethical Egoism is fully sound.

Bishop Joseph Butler provides a famous argument against psychological egoism (focusing on hedonism) in his Fifteen Sermons.


The key passage is the following: That all particular appetites and passions are towards external things themselves. Often altruism and egoism co-exist and are compatible. c) Whatever counter-examples opponents offer, psychological.

Psychological Egoism

egoists will always explain them as boiling down to self-interest. Therefore, psychological. egoism is an A priori premise, a closed argument, not an empirically demonstrable thesis. Feb 29,  · Another argument against "ethical" egoism is "rational" egoism.

This form is the actual "ought" because it applies to what the egoist determines for himself is the "qua" of Man, to which he then applies his Resolved. Argument For: If we accept rational egoism, and if we accept ethical rationalism, then we must accept ethical egoism.

This is the case because if acting in one’s own self-interest is reasonable, then it is a moral requirement that one acts in one’s own self-interest.

An argument against egoism
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