Psychological and Ethical Egoists in the Film, Crimes and Misdemeanors

863 Words 4 Pages
What if you only thought about yourself every day? What if you made no attempts to help a friend of family member in need? What if you did what was best for you and only you? Would you be able to live with yourself? The views of a psychological egoist have clear answers to the previous questions. A psychological egoist believe in just those sorts of behaviors. While in contrasting view of an ethical egoist believe in what we ought to do. These views were both demonstrated in the film “Crimes and Misdemeanors”. Each of those views make an impact on how one lives their lives, and the circumstances associated with each view. Taking a look at the differences and similarities of psychological egoism and ethical egoism is the first step to understanding the complex characters in this film.
Steven M. Cahn explains in Exploring Ethics that “psychological egoism is the view that all mean are selfish in everything that they do...” (72). This means that actions are only taken if they benefit oneself. More importantly the motivation for those actions is purely self-centered. A psychological egoist would help a friend because they wanted to be a good friend and feel the satisfaction from it, not because they cared about their friend’s wellbeing. Though it is rather easy to argue against that. A simple example is a mother and child. A mother does not take care and nurture their child because they want to be a good mother. They do so because they care about the life of…