Ethics - 1) Ethical Egoism a) Description of ethical egoism...

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1) Ethical Egoism a) Description of ethical egoism i) The idea that each person ought to pursue his or her interests exclusively ii) Pursuing self-interest is our only moral duty iii) However, it does not mean we should avoid helping others, only that when we do help others, the motivation is still self-interested b) Arguments for ethical egoism i) If everyone pursues their own self interest, everyone will be better off (1) But this isn’t an argument for ethical egoism at all, only a method for altruism (2) We may behave like egoists, but egoism is not the underlying justification ii) Ethical egoism is the only theory that respects the integrity of the individual human life iii) Self-interest is the unifying thread that explains our moral intuitions (1) The best way to promote self-interest is to act “morally” towards others (2) This is called “Contractarian Ethics” (3) Objections (a) this only shows that moral constraints are only a general rule , it does not show that this is always so (eg – when you cannot be caught) c) Arguments against ethical egoism i) Ethical Egoism exacerbates conflicts of interest instead of resolving them (1) Eg – Two candidates for presidency have a conflict of interest (2) Objection: ethics is not about resolving conflicts, but rather about promoting self interests, so this arguments begs the question ii) Ethical egoism is logically inconsistent iii) Ethical egoism is an arbitrary doctrine (1) It advocates treating some groups of people differently than others despite the fact that no differences justify this different treatment (a) The two groups are yourself, and everyone else; egoists favor “yourself” over everyone else, but for only arbitrary reasons (2) It is like racism – discrimination based on arbitrary differences 2) Plato – Crito a) Socrates begins the discussion of whether he should escape from prison by noting three points in favor of his decision to stay: i) One must not value the opinions of all persons – only those of wise persons (1) Eg – the fighter trusts a physician about his injury, not the general population, who do not have knowledge about this ii) The most important thing is not life; it is instead the good life iii) One must never do wrong , even when one has been wronged b) Socrates lists three arguments that would be made by the state in order to establish that his escape would be wrong: i) By disregarding the verdict of the courts, Socrates would be attempting to destroy the state’s laws and its citizens ii) One has no right to retaliate against the state (and its laws) just as one has no right to rebel against one’s parents iii) Socrates had the opportunity to leave the state, but did not. He also had children in Athens, demonstrating his approval of the existing laws. 3)
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Ethics - 1) Ethical Egoism a) Description of ethical egoism...

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