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Philip curve says the lower the unemployment in an

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Unformatted text preview: the south by maintaining slavery? 60 Problems for Utilitarianism Problems Suppose I can dampen inflation by keeping Suppose unemployment artificially high? (Philip curve says the lower the unemployment in an economy, the higher the rate of inflation). These actions (means) are the ordinarily viewed as immoral in spite of the good consequences (ends) they bring about. Utilitarians who justify an action by citing its good consequences are accused of missing an important part of ethics: the fact that some actions are wrong in principle, no matter what the consequences. principle, Utilitarianism is the best-known variety of Utilitarianism Consequentialist moral theory. Utilitarians believe that the morally right act is that which produces the greatest balance of happiness over unhappiness. 61 Egoism Egoism Henry Sidgwick conceived of egoism as an ethical Henry theory parallel to utilitarianism: the utilitarian holds that one should maximize the good of all beings in the universe; the egoist holds instead that the good one is ultimately to aim at is only one’s own. ultimately According to ethical egoism we have no duties to According anyone but ourselves. This does not mean that the entire world ought to satisfy my interests. Ethical egoism is a moral theory, which can be cast in perfectly universal terms: according to ethical egoism, every individual ought to satisfy his or her own best interests. Or, to put it in terms we know: every individual ought to maximize his or her own welfare. to 62 Egoism Egoism To Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679 his book Leviathan To 1651), source of morality is the need for humans to 1651), live together in a civilized society in order to survive. live Without law and morality, we would be in “a state of Without nature”, where each person competed with others for food, shelter, and resources. food, Everyone is better off when we agree to abide by Everyone certain principles of respect and cooperation, and punish those who break the agreement. This is the reason to act morally. reason Hobbes’s line of thought can be made into an Hobbes’s argument: The only reason a person has to act morally is to protect his or her own self-interest. morally 63 Egoism Egoism Adam Smith (1723-1790): economist - said economy is better off when each person said pursues what’s best for him or herself only - said this created an “invisible hand”. created He thought that if a society set up a system that He tapped into that strong self-interest and legitimized it, that society would be more productive. that According to egoism, each individual has a goal of his According or her own (in utilitarianism we all share the same goal). This diversity of goals may engender conflict. goal). 64 Egoism Egoism This is not an objection to ethical egoism, however. This When people have goals that conflict, each individual ought, according to egoism, to maintain his or her own goal. Ethical egoism is a consistent ethical theory, in competition with other ethical theories. competition This form of egoism (often called ‘ethical egoism’) is to This be distinguished from ‘psychological egoism’ be according to which human beings seek to promote selfishness. selfishness We can see this more clearly if we define selfishness We and contrast it with self-interest, which is something quite different. quite 65 Egoism Egoism Selfishness is the pursuit of one’s self-interest at the Selfishness expense of another. Pursuits in our own interest are not bad, they are good. It is healthy if everyone pursues their interests. Psychologists have pointed out the necessity of selfPsychologists llove and self-esteem as well as the desirability of a ove robust pursuit of one’s projects and dreams. After all, if I don’t pursue my interests, who will? That is why an action that benefits you is a good action, and a good reason for doing something is that it will be good for you. it Ethical egoism can approve of behavior that benefits Ethical others, for often the best way to promote one’s good is 66 to form cooperative relationships. to Egoism Egoism But the egoist cannot approve of an altruistic justification for such cooperation: altruism requires benefiting others merely for their sake, whereas the egoist insists that one’s ultimate goal must be solely one’s own good. one’s The problem arises when the pursuit of your interests The can only be done at the expense of others. If I can only make a sale by persuading a customer who can’t afford the product to buy it anyway, that is selfish behavior, and to justify it by saying it will aid me is to justify it egoistically. A principle which necessarily promotes selfishness is immoral. promotes 67 Egoism Egoism According to egoism, you act wrongly whenever you According do not maximize your own best interests. This do This means that you make a moral mistake if you sacrifice future pleasures for inferior present ones. And you act wrongly when, in choosing a way of life, you destroy your health or shorten y...
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