HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

RATIONAL/ETHICAL EGOISM AS A MORAL THEORY TESTED 

 

DEFINITIONS

Egoism is the notion that all we do even the good we do for others is really only or chiefly about ourselves and what we want.  Egoism says that all that you do is about you and nobody else. You only help others for your sake not theirs.

Some egoists say that egoism just describes what people are and what they do. They are psychological egoists.  Others say that this should be the case - they are ethical egoists.

THE EVIDENCE

Helping x because you want to inherit her money sounds selfish.  But it is really how good you think the money will make you feel that you want so if you help her for no reason but to feel good you are essentially doing the same thing.  Whether it is about money or not it is about what feeling you will get. 

It is said that psychological egoism has nothing to do with any idea of how one should act. But is it merely natural? If we cannot help seeing then we should see. If we cannot help being self-centred we should be. The principle is that you cannot be criticised or told you should not do what you cannot help doing.

Whatever action we perform we understand and experience it as self-regarding as in responding to our will.  In other words, there is something self-regarding about doing your will.  Your will is your will regardless of whether you are acting to benefit yourself or another person.  Your sight is your sight whether you look in the mirror or at another person.  Same idea.

The desire for self is self-regarding desire for others is not.  So we are told.  But your motive is to act.  Then you build a motive on that concerning what to act about. Desires and motives are connected but they are not the same thing.

THE "EVIDENCE" AGAINST

It is wrong to assume people hurting themselves say by smoking proves they are not self-centered. They are self-centred for they think they won’t mind being sick or it won’t happen. Abusing yourself for the sake of selfishness is being selfish.  And other people have to suffer because of you and somebody who has always cared for their health may have to do without a hospital bed that you have put yourself in.

Working for some long term benefit is working for what may never happen yet you do it. Your brain is set to get you to do things like that. Thus it follows that you are egoistic because you don’t need to be sure of getting the benefit.  You are so keen for the benefit for yourself that you labour for it though it is not certain.

 

It may be self-interest but not selfishness to exercise. But is that true?
If a wife cares about her husbands happiness and not her own or the relationship then it perhaps is okay for him to have an affair.

RESOURCES


Egoism says that if you do something out of weakness that is egoism. It is a contradiction to say that ethics is about what your good is and that others should work for your good. Egoism is everybody telling everybody to look out for themselves.  It seems that it is not egoism to throw away what you need like that and tell them they can take it.  But that argument ignores the fact that egoists can and do work well together.  It does not matter if you are altruist or egoist, if you do not have the most important resources there will be war.  There is enough to go around to keep egoists reasonably happy.

HURTING OTHERS

 

All hurting of others involves an element of wanting to hurt them for the sake of it.  They are not you and you cannot be as sure that they exist and suffer like you would for you are not them.

An act should not be written off as selfish or self-motivated simply because it includes some unavoidable element of self-interest. The act can still be counted as altruistic if the ‘selfish’ element is accidental; or, if not accidental, then secondary; or, if neither accidental nor secondary, then undetermining.

A person who does good only because others think he should is an egoist.
Making not serving is what matters. If I serve others I am really trying to make good. My purpose is not to serve but to make. Giving to others does notmean giving is oyour purpose. It means it is nto yoru purpose.
Is the assumption that psychological altruism is true just as bad or as much of a guess as psychological egoism?

The notin that any time you do an action because you want to that is weak psychological egoism because you are doing it because you want to. Many feel that if you want to do the good thing and do it without concern for that you want to do it is is altruism.

It is said that if we are inherently motivated by concern for others or concern for ourselves then there are two contradictory theories and only a coin flip can make you choose which one to go with. It is said that if you need your coin to choose which one then there is a problem with either or both of them. But that does not follow. Both theories could be possible and that does not mean anybody knows which one is possible. Having to choose randomly between two strong theories does not mean that either of them is unsound.


It seems mad to argue that a man who risks his arm to get food for a starving family is as selfish as one who risks his arm to fill is coffers. The argument that wanting to so something for another means the wanting is enough to say it is about you more than the other person or all about you is said to be a tautology. “John wants to help x and wanting makes it self-centred therefore John is self-centred.” But that is not a tautology or a circular argument at all. First it makes sense. Second it is true that wanting is you having to fulfil the side of our nature that does not want to be alone. Third if you want a reward of 100 dollars you want just the same. Wanting is wanting whter it is for another person to be okay or wanting a 100 dollars. The object of the want makes no difference. An eye is an eye no matter what it sees.


Ethical egoism says it is never ethical or moral to do something without thinking of yourself. It is a problemhow it turns it inot a command and condemns the baker who works to give you bread for nothing. But realitic the baker has to think of his own interest in order to be able to kkeep giving you bread. What if he puts work before his food and dies?
But why are we saying it is never ethical or moral? Why are we not saying it is morally indifferent? It could be that we should be self-interested andn if we are not that is not immoral but is in fact no different to chosing a appear ofver an orange. It is moreally irrelevant or indifferent. Weak versions of ethical egoism say that it is ether morally indifferent or only slightly immoral so it does not really matter.

Ethicla egoism is thought to force people into conflict. A rich pensioner with loads of money may be looked after kindly by the carer who is hapy to get a weekly wage from keeping her alive. The nephew may want her to die to get her money and give it to charity. What if there is only one seat at the concert and John wants to go and Andy wants to go. Ethical egoism tells them to go. But who gets the seat? This seems to show ethical egoism is inconsitent. But in fact it is not the theorys fault that there is only one seat. One will get the seat. The theory only asks you to seek the seat if it shtere. It is silent on whether it is best for John or Andy to get the seat.

It is said that though the theory demands that people agree to share iif one refuses there will have to be conflict. The theory seems to suggest, “Fight if you have to.” The theory says you must not do harm to antoehr to gget what they have for that is not egoistic. To hurt another is to say another should hurt you to get what you have.


Conditional egoism is the idea that egoism is fine as long as the end product is ethical or good or morally acceptable. So you can selfishnessy want your rich relative's money but not as long as it is only for you. It is fine if you want it so that you can give it to a charity.


There is a problem in working out what is really for the common and public good but the argument claims that conditional egoism is the best method in an unpredictable world and is not a panacea.

Ethical Egoism requires you to be self-interested. There are divisions in what egoism entails. Preference egoism says that doing something you want it egoism. Objective egoism is not bout how you feel but about getting to a state where your wellbeing is protected best whether you enoy it or not. Objective egoists typically advocate virtue as veing very important for your own good. For example avarice swallows y ou up and means you will never be able to be happy with what you have.

With ethics you need punishment if you don’t comply so it seems odd to punish somebody for not being egostical.


Psychological egoism according to Joseph Butler is refuted by the fact that your desires cannot be all about you. If it is all about you then nobody will help you or care for you and you will self-destruct. So you must want good things for other people in order to be able to fit in and be part of a community that helps you. You have to love football for its own sake in order to get anything out of palying it.

If psychological egoism is wrong then why do we need extreme examples to refute it such as a solider blowing himself up to save the life of another person?

Some feel that guilt is about other people not you so refusing to do something bad in case you feel guilty is not selfish or self-centred.

If somebody suffers and you suffer in emaphty with them because they suffer then that will lead to you helping them. Soe say this is evidence of altruism for it is about suffering for ohers wtithotu thinking of what it is in for yourself. But unless you create emapty how can you be sure it exists and that somebody an and might give it to y ou as well? There is no way to show that it is necessarily altrusici. And we must not understemidne our fear of self-punishmetn if we are too cold. Daniel Batson and his colleagues tested the altruism theory. He found idiviauls who had high levels of empathy still helped others when tehyw ere told that there were people there to help htem anyway. This was to elimited the possibility that the would fear self-punsihment if they did not help. He found that if their helping was made secret they still did it.

There is no use in me having a good motive if I cannot show it. Are we acting nice to show our motives?

One fear people have about psychical exogism that in order to moviate us to help others we have to resurtect ouresleves to telling them why it is bad for THEM not the OTHER PERSON if they do not help.

On the practical side, if I am by nature self-centred then I cannot do something that Is not in my self-interest. I cannot help a drowing child for the sake of the child but for my sake. And ethical egoism says I should not do it for the child’s sake!

Finally, if I do not believe that some action is ultimately in my self-interest, it follows from psychological egoism that I cannot aim to do it. But say I am wrong: the action is in my self-interest. Ethical egoism then says that it is right for me to do something I cannot aim to do. It violates practicality just as any other moral theory does.

Forms of egoism that say it is up to you to be egoistic and others are not called on to be the same fall into error. They froet that if egoism is good and leads to good then everybody shoud pursue it. Something can be good in itself or good for be. But tere is a sense in that good for me is good in itself as well. The two are not opposites. It is the wa good is godo and not just any connection between me and goodness that gives me reason to puruse the good. Pain is bad and not bad just because I have it. That is why I must try to help those who are in pain.

You might reason, “Doing x helps my self-itnerst”. But “Doing the abusrd helps my self-interest too for I want to be bigger and stronger than the truth.” An altruist then could be an egoist trying to master truth and reality with the self.

ETholicsi egoism according ot some should be scrapepd and repaleed witht eh almost idental concept of scientific egotism. They deny that it can be called a moral theory. It is hard they say to call a demand that you maximise what is good for yourself a moral heroy.

The instrumental theory of egism is that


Like ethical egoism, rational egoism needs arguments to support it. One might cite our most confident judgments about rational action and claim that rational egoism best fits these. 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. According to the instrumental theory, it is necessary and sufficient, for an action to be rational, that it maximize the satisfaction of one's preferences. Since psychological egoism seems false, it may be rational for me to make an uncompensated sacrifice for the sake of others, for this may be what, on balance, best satisfies my (strong, non-self-interested) preferences. This conflict with the instrumental theory is a major problem for rational egoism.

The rational egoist might reply that the instrumental theory is equally a problem for any standard moral theory that claims to give an account of what one ought rationally, or all things considered, to do. If, for example, a utilitarian claims that I have most reason to give to charity, since that maximizes the general happiness, I could object that giving to charity cannot be rational given my particular preferences, which are for things other than the general happiness.

A different problem for rational egoism is that it appears arbitrary. Suppose I claim that I ought to maximize the welfare of blue-eyed people, but not of other people. Unless I can explain why blue-eyed people are to be preferred, my claim looks arbitrary, in the sense that I have given no reason for the different treatments. As a rational egoist, I claim that I ought to maximize the welfare of one person (myself). Unless I can explain why I should be preferred, my claim looks equally arbitrary.

One reply is to argue that non-arbitrary distinctions can be made by one's preferences. Say I like anchovies and hate broccoli. This makes my decision to buy anchovies rather than broccoli non-arbitrary. Similarly, my preference for my own welfare makes my concentration on my own welfare non-arbitrary.

There are two problems for this reply.

First, we do not always take preferences to establish non-arbitrary distinctions. If I defend favoring blue-eyed people simply by noting that I like blue-eyed people, without any justification for my liking, this seems unsatisfactory. The rational egoist must argue that hers is a case where preferences are decisive.

Second, if psychological egoism is false, I might lack a preference for my own welfare. 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 proposal that preferences establish non-arbitrary distinctions supports the instrumental theory better than rational egoism.

Another reply to the arbitrariness worry is to claim that certain distinctions just are non-arbitrary. Which distinctions these are is revealed by looking at whether we ask for justifications of the relevance of the distinction. In the case of my maximizing of the welfare of the blue-eyed, we do ask for a justification; we do not take “because they're blue-eyed” as an adequate defense of a reason to give to the blue-eyed. In the case of my maximizing my own welfare, however, “because it will make me better off” may seem a reasonable justification; we do not quickly ask “why does that matter?”


Some forms of egoism a Egosimask if the most important thing for me is to look after what I want to do now. This si the present aim theory. This does not say I must ignore the future but only says I should look after my desire to prepare for it now. The present aim theory of ethicial egoism is hailed as the best and wisest version of the theory even by non-egoists.

Now if I should put myself first what happens if part of my mind is put into another body? Now there are two of me. What if both bodies have all my memories? It is said that neither can care about me for they will have separate lives. some say that neither is to be identified with me for there are two. Some say it is not continuity that makes me me but memory. But these two have all my memories.

Question begging is a sign of selfishness for it is about what you want to believe and not the truth. So it is question begging ot say that people are at core altruistic or


But self-interest and selfishness are not the same so paradoxically it can be selfish.
The desire to be a certain kind of person makes you an egoist if you help others with that intention,




Acting for the heck of it without regard for self is still selfish

 


NUTSHELL

Having We all need a motive to act.  Motive by definition means I want to satisfy

"I want to donate my kidney to save that little girl whoever she is."

"