Ethical Egoism Theory


EthicalEgoism Theory

EthicalEgoism Summary

Ethical egoism refers to what every person ought to do when pursuingexclusively his or her own self-interests. Aspects of ethical egoisminvolve: Rejection of Ethical egoism on the ordinary assumption, withother people’s interest counting as their own that we claim nospecific moral duty to do what is considered good for ourselves thata person may be obligated to help other people, but particularly as ameans to long-term interests from ourselves and finally, thathelping others is only viewed to be right only when and because, itwill put us at an advantageous position (Sher, 2012). Ethical egoismis not that one should often do what he or she wants to do. Forexample, one may want to smoke, but it is not always in a person’sself-choice to buy a cigarette. Ethical egoism is also not one wherea person does what gives him or herself utmost pleasure.

Strengthsof Ethical Egoism

Altruismis self-defeating. This is because one moral obligation is that ofone’s self-interest. Egoists, in a bid to support this issue, haveargued by claiming that altruism is self-defeating. By this, theegoists meant that it tend to bring more harm than good (Vaughn,2013). Again, people have in the past argued that it tended to be“offensive intrusion” into people’s lives. Others think thataltruism degrades or demeans those people who are recipients of“charities”. In essence, what ethical egoism brings in this kindof situation is that it is beneficial to others since it promotesgeneral well-being of individuals.

Secondly,ethical egoism fits well with the common sense morality. This isbecause it attempts to explain that ethical egoism is indeed thebasis of common sense moral point pf view. In other words, the theorysupports individual common sense by giving it more duty that urgesavoidance of harm and lies, because by doing so places us in the ourbest self-interests. Again, the theory urges that if I violate duty,for example, to not to inflict harm to others, there is a high chancethere would inflict harm to us in return (Mill &amp Hedyt, 2011).One of renowned egoists, Thomas Hobbes, suggested that the EthicalEgoism principle would ultimately result in the Golden Rule. The rulewarned that we should not commit harm unto others because there couldbe a high chance, the harm would also be done unto us.

Weaknessesof the Ethical Egoism

First, EthicalEgoism supports evil action. From the theory, when an action favorsthe self-interest of one person, it is then morally acceptable tocarry out that action. However, Mill &amp Hedyt (2011) observes thatmost individual interests result into actions that are viewed aspatently evil for example, sociopathic killing, rape, or larceny.Therefore, Ethical Egoism sanctions some of the actions that aremorally conscientious. This makes a person to appear immoral or evil,and therefore, fails to a genuine moral theory. Rachel observed thatthis argument, as much as it is compelling, tend to beg the questionagainst the theory since it requires judgement that is evil-based onnon-egoistic evil account.

Secondly,Ethical Egoism is viewed to be unacceptably arbitrary. The theorydivides people into two groups and advocates arbitrarily forpreferential treatment of one group over the other. Racism andanti-Semitism is viewed to be an example of such. Racism, in thiscase, violates Equal Treatment principle because it explainsdifferent level of treatments based upon the race. In reality, therecould not be moral differences on morals among races. Rachel arguedthat it is hard to find relevant differences between other people andus. From this, we therefore must admit that if our own needs shouldbe covered, so should the needs of other people. Based on thisrealization, that we are equal with one another, it is therefore areason that our morality must involve recognition of other’s needs(Vaughn, 2013). This is also why the Ethical Egoism, fails to be amoral theory.

to Rachels’ Multi-strategies Utilitarianism Moral Theory

Utilitarianismmoral theory is an act with consequences that bring into the worldgreat amount of happiness, while subtracting some of the unhappymoments caused. One of the central rules to utilitarianism is theprinciple of utility. This principle view right acts as a way tomaximizing amount of happiness. For example, when one imagines aworld that has much happiness has it can contain, the job of a moralagent would be to act in a way that bring us closer enough to theworld. Multi-strategies utilitarianism justifies two principles: Theappeal to desert and virtues of the theory. This is done by arguingthat placing actions on these base, promotes general welfare, and inthe end, a consequentialist. Rachels’ theory was referred to as the“multi-strategies” (LaFollette, 2001). In addition, what bestpromotes the impartiality of everyone’s interests and sometimesdoes not act on the impartiality is what the people deserves and isin accordance with the virtues.

Multi-strategiesUtilitarianism theory promotes the interests of everyone involved.The theory notes that interest of every person counts equally.Rachel, based on this theory, rejects psychological egoism. Heobserves the people as social creatures that care about the interestsof others to a certain extent. The theory also rejects sexism,egoism, and racism. Rachels’ view from the moral theory is viewedas a representation of morality without false pride. Humans arepresented with a modest place when in a scheme of things. Rachelsobserves the arrival of people as our thought to be the mostimportant section of the creation. This is as if everything under thesun is in possession of intrinsic value. In comparison, the rest ofthe creation is presented with an instrumental value to the welfareof human.

Comparisonand Contrast between Ethical Egoism and Rachels’ UtilitarianismTheory

EthicalEgoism as a form of consequential theory, that holds moral conductthat is viewed with self-interests. Ethical Egoism argues thatappealing consequences for all agents outweigh the consequencesassociated with others. Egoistic actions may be regarded as ethicalfor each individual if it is beneficial, while detrimental andbeneficial (Mill &amp Hedyt, 2011). Utilitarianism on the otherhand, is focused on the greater idea with overall good.Utilitarianism, essentially, aims at maximizing majority of thepeople’s good. In any action, what is morally worthy is judged bythe amount of overall pleasant results for every sentient individual.And while few individuals may suffer as a result of such actions, thetheory holds that kind of conduct to be still ethical.

Between boththeories, the differences while considering that there exist severalsub-theories for each branch are therefore the importance that isseen on every person. In second theory, regarded as the most ethical,tend to harm individual agents, while maximizing positives for theentire population. This importantly places emphasis on individualism.

These twotheories also have similarities. Like Ethical Egoism, Utilitarianismrefers to a normative theory. That offers principles that explain thedifference between the right and wrong actions. Utilitarianism, likeEthical Egoism, tells us that the action’s consequences, determinesthe rightness and wrongness (Sher, 2012). These two theories believethat an individual action to some degree focuses primarily on theconsequences that originate from the actions. In conclusion, betweenthe two theories, I would prefer Utilitarianism theory. This isbecause it aims at maximizing the good and minimizing the harm onother people.


LaFollette, H.(2001). The Blackwell guide to ethical theory. Oxford, UK:Blackwell.

Mill, J. S., &ampHeydt, C. (2011). Utilitarianism. Peterborough, Ont: BroadviewPress.

Sher, G. (2012).Ethics: Essential readings in moral theory. New York:Routledge.

Vaughn, L. (2013). Contemporary moral arguments: Readings inethical issues. New York, N.Y. [etc.: Oxford University Press.