Psychological and Ethical Egoism Essay

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Egoism is a teleological theory of ethics that sets the ultimate criterion of morality in some nonmoral value (i.e. happiness or welfare) that results from acts (Pojman 276). It is contrasted with altruism, which is the view that one's actions ought to further the interests or good of other people, ideally to the exclusion of one's own interests (Pojman 272). This essay will explain the relation between psychological egoism and ethical egoism. It will examine how someone who believes in psychological egoism explains the apparent instances of altruism. And it will discuss some arguments in favor of universal ethical egoism, and exam Pojman's critque of arguments for and against universal ethical egoism.

Psychological egoism, a
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If one performs an act beneficial to others with a view to gaining affection, respect, reputation, or any form of gratitude then it is not an altruistic act. It is in fact a selfish act because the principal motivation was to reap some benefit for oneself. The desire of this benefit exists equally whether it is psychological, emotional, intellectual, or material. Each form of desirable benefit is philosophically identical as a motivation. According to the psychological egoist, in most cases, behavior may appear as if it is altruistic, but in fact, due to the motivation behind the act, it is quite the opposite. Instead, the act is driven by a rational and reasoned desire to benefit by following one's own personal system of values.

Individuals instilled with a belief that serving others is their duty may, contrary to the idea of psychological egoism , begin the habit of performing truly altruistic actions out of this sense of duty only. Some feel that even this can be construed as self-interest, because the benefit might be the perceived avoidance of the anticipated feelings of guilt which may arise if the duty is not fulfilled. In any case, there are those who rely on their sense of duty to direct them to what they perceive to be virtuous behaviour. This frequently leads to resentment against those for whom they are performing their duties. Moreover, some believe that altruist behaviour becomes an impossibility, as people