Phil 4- Paper 2

Phil 4- Paper 2 - Megan Bakva Philosophy 4 Justin Clark...

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Philosophy 4 Justin Clark Through the legend of the Ring of Gyges, Plato asserts his belief that humans always act out of their personal best self-interest, whether or not they consider the action moral. To defend this claim, Plato, through Glaucon’s character, discusses the ethics of a man who gains a ring that enables him to become invisible. With this power, Gyges disregards morality, seducing the queen and murdering the king, to become King himself. This legend sparks the discussion of egoism. What would any other human do if they were to gain the power of invisibility? Would the typical human be virtuous, act morally if they certainly could not get caught or suffer from consequences of “bad” actions? What makes an action good or bad? According to the moral theory of psychological egoism, ultimately humans always perform the action that serves their best self-interest and therefore never act altruistically. Plato’s claim that no man is so virtuous to not act self-interestedly and disobey morals when put in the same situation as Gyges is a view of psychological egoism. Psychological egoism makes a descriptive claim; It makes a claim about the way things factually are. Ethical egoism makes a prescriptive claim, a claim about what ought to be the case. The view purports that because people will always act self-interestedly, thereby bringing them ultimate sense of happiness, this is what they should do. The right or morally correct action in ethical egoism is the action that best satisfies individual interests. A point of clarification is made on the “is of identity.” The right action is the same thing as or equal to the action that best advances personal interests; No meaning is lost when the two terms are substituted. This conclusion of ethical egoism, draws from just one premise. Because (1) all actions are
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This note was uploaded on 11/07/2010 for the course PHIL 38406 taught by Professor Huizenga during the Winter '09 term at UCSB.

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Phil 4- Paper 2 - Megan Bakva Philosophy 4 Justin Clark...

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