Writing assignment 8 - Ethical egoism is our moral obligation to perform an action that will provide the greatest happiness for us An ethical

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Ethical egoism is our moral obligation to perform an action that will provide the greatest happiness for us. An ethical egoist states that we must always to follow our own best interest, even if we are sometimes motivated to help others. Ethical egoists can hold various positions on what constitutes this “best interest," some seeking pleasure whiles others seek power. I believe the strongest objection to ethical egoism is that it clashes with our perceptions about fairness and friendship. True friendship requires that we take a legitimate interest in our friends' happiness. A good friend is there for you during the hardest times, and they do not take advantage of you whenever it is in their own best interest to do so. Instead, a good friend might even pass up opportunities for their own sake in order to help you, without ever telling anyone that they had done so. Furthermore, if you go to someone you trust for advice, then you expect that person to try to help you or promote the best interests of everyone involved in the situation at issue. Most of us believe that it would be seriously inappropriate for the person you opened your heart into to manipulate you or others in order to promote their own advantage. I think this is a successful objection because in the long run, there may be instances in which your interests coincide with the interests of others, so that in helping yourself you will also be aiding others. Or, it may happen that aiding others is an effective means for creating some benefit for yourself. Ethical egoism does not forbid such actions; in fact, it may demand them. For example, if you are a CEO at your company, it is your best interests to aide your employees because if you don’t, they won’t work as efficiently or they may even quit, and in the long-run, this will be a disaster for your company. It seems, therefore, that although ethical egoism may be a consistent theory, it encourages in people's qualities that we do not appreciate and that fall far short of most people's
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moral ideals. The ethical egoist can, of course, reply that while we might not appreciate their moral position, nothing we have said shows that their position is actually wrong. They can say that they have their own set of views of their “best interest,” thus making the objection not completely valid. And regardless of what an ethical egoist thinks is in her own best interest, she need not constantly pursue it in her daily activities. She has to think about the future and if it is in her long term best interest to behave in an altruistic manner for awhile, then that is what she ought to do. But it is important to notice that if she does so, she only acts in an altruistic manner while she is
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This note was uploaded on 01/13/2010 for the course PHIL 202 taught by Professor Jacobs during the Spring '09 term at Aarhus Universitet, Aarhus.

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Writing assignment 8 - Ethical egoism is our moral obligation to perform an action that will provide the greatest happiness for us An ethical

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