ETHICAL egoism is the view that each person ought, all things considered, to do that action which is most in his over-all self-interest. Kurt Baier ar- gues against. Rational egoism (also called rational selfishness) is the principle that an action is rational if and . Baier, Kurt (). “Egoism” in A Companion to Ethics. Peter Singer (ed.), Blackwell: Oxford. Brink, D. , “Sidgwick and the Rationale for Rational Egoism,” in. Ethical egoism is the normative ethical position that moral agents ought to do what is in their .. Baier, Kurt, , “Egoism” in A Companion to Ethics, Peter Singer (ed.), Blackwell: Oxford. ISBN ; Biddle, Craig, Loving Life.

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Similarly, if the impartial point dgoism view is defended as non-arbitrary because it makes no distinctions, both the point of view of various groups and my individual point of view are suspect. The egoist cannot advise others to be egoists because it works against the first egoists interest. Suppose that F 3 has a memory of F 2 ‘s experiences but no memory of F 1.

As with ethical egoism, baief are variants which drop maximization or evaluate rules or character traits rather than actions. If it is an impartial standard that sets the limit, one that can be indicated by any reasonable person, then it behooves the philosopher to explain the nature of that standard.

Egoists may respond that if the situation becomes worse for everybody, that would include the egoist, so it is not, in fact, in his or her rational self-interest to take things to such extremes. Nor is it clear how noting a difference in the closeness of recommendations justifies concluding that rational egoism is debunked and utilitarianism not debunked.

Firstly, the collective outcomes of the game can be changed by the game master to produce a socially and individually optimal eegoism — the numbers can be altered. My welfare might consist simply in bqier satisfaction of self-regarding desires. Being so totally focused on the self is not likely to make someone many friends.

Ethical egoism also differs from rational egoismwhich holds that it is rational to act in one’s self-interest. That is, it is not enough that I act as if others have weight; I must really give them weight. Perhaps he threw himself on the grenade because he could not bear to live with himself afterwards if he did not do so.


It may have more points at which it can go wrong, but produce more care than a direct but weak altruistic mechanism. Such would be a classical liberal reading of this situation, which considers the advance of property rights to be the obvious solution to apparently intractable conflicts over resources.

One problem with this argument is that psychological egoism seems false. The altruistic hypothesis also has some of the same problems: One could then, if one wished, argue for ethical egoism from rational egoism and the plausible claim that the best moral theory must tell me what I have most reason to do.

If I am an egoist, I hold eogism I ought to maximize my good. If it is a person who is set up as the great arbitrator of the public, then it is uncertain if there can be a guarantee that he or she is embodying or arguing for an impartial standard of the good baie not for his or her own particular interest.

Say the cost to me of saving a drowning person is getting my shirtsleeve wet. If so, I have reason to alleviate the pain of others NagelRachels Rational egoism is the view that, if rational, “an agent regards quantity of consequent pleasure and pain to himself alone important in choosing between alternatives of action; and seeks always the greatest attainable surplus of pleasure over pain”.

A further worry is that it is not clear that having the belief best increases reproductive fitness. In addition, opponents argue that even in a world inhabited by a single being, duties would still apply; Kantian duties are those actions that reason dictates ought to be pursued regardless of any gain, or loss to self or others.

But something close to this argument is plausible, especially for some bad things.

Philosophical Disquisitions: Egoism by Kurt Baier (Part 1)

Parental care might also be explained on altruistic grounds: For example, it allows one to keep some good, such as a job, for oneself, even if giving the good to someone else would help him slightly more, and it captures the intuition that I need not let others exploit me.

The same is true for Thomas AquinasChristian Wolff and Immanuel Kantwho claim that there are duties to ourselves as Aristotle did, although it has been argued that, for Aristotle, the duty to one’s self is primary. Egoism and altruism both contrast with ethical utilitarianismwhich holds that a moral agent should treat one’s self also known as the subject with no higher regard than one has for others as egoism does, by elevating self-interests and “the self” to a status not granted to others.


There are several theories about the principle of the GOOD that would serve human decision making in reaching a conclusion as to what is the morally correct thing to do.

I may have a duty to help others, and the world might be better if Bbaier helped others, but it does not follow that I am better off by helping others. Another problem is that conversion can be costly. However, impartiality considerations demand an alternative course—it is not right to change grades to make life easier.

Nevertheless, if an element of choice is permitted against the great causal impetus from nature, or God, it follows that a person possesses some bairr over her next action, and, that, therefore, one may inquire as to whether the individual does, or, should choose a self-or-other-oriented action.

However, psychological altruism is arguably just as closed as psychological egoism: Finally, Sidgwick might be claiming that my point of view, like an egoixm point of view, is non-arbitrary.

Ethical egoism

Second, if psychological egoism is false, I might lack a preference for my own welfare. If psychological egoism were true, this would restrict moral judgments to those made by egoism. But since motivation is inherently private and inaccessible to others an agent could be lying to herself or to others about the original motivethe theory shifts from a theoretical description of human nature–one that can be put to observational testing–to an assumption about the inner workings of human nature: One might also object to Prichard-style arguments that a they are question-begging, since egoists will hardly agree that my reason for helping is something other than baiier benefit to me, and b given disagreement over this claim about my reason, the appropriate response is to suspend judgment about it.

That is, people are motivated by their own interests and desires, and they cannot be described otherwise.