Psychological Egoism Essay

Length: 3 pages Sources: 1 Subject: Business - Ethics Type: Essay Paper: #86240060 Related Topics: Selfishness, Morality, Plato, Legal Ethics
Excerpt from Essay :

Ordinary thinking concerning morality from the author's perspective is "full of assumptions that we almost never question. We assume, for example, that we have an obligation to consider the welfare of other people when we decide what actions have to perform of what rules to obey" (Rachels, 2011 p. 51). In other words people have to generate some kind of filter for when they perform certain actions in order to avoid causing harm to others and respecting the interests and rights of those one comes in contact with. Furthermore other things that come into consideration within the thought process of morality is that people are not wholly selfish and to some degree have a level of selflessness in their interactions, acting in the interest of other individuals and groups. Moral sceptics on the other hand criticize such assumptions. These criticisms go back as far as in Plato's Republic. Using the story of the ring of invisibility and the power it brings like seduction of the Queen and the


The assumption here is the rogue will do as he pleases in order to seize power. He would do this because under the protection of invisibility he is not afraid of getting caught nor of facing any negative consequences, therefore he has nothing restraining him from committing wrongful acts and has in other words, no sense of morality to determine his actions. Some might say that he is a rogue and therefore that is expected of him. But Glaucon contends that the virtuous man would act in the same manner because of that same expectation of not facing negative consequences for his actions.

So here, in this example, the article than states through Glaucon's perspective, that no one has the strength of mind to behave in a moral and upstanding way under these circumstances. Therefore fear of reprisal is what confines an individual to perform under moral standards and lack of fear of reprisal thus destroys any morality within the individual. Glaucon presents an argument that if there is no advantage to being moral, like evading negative consequences, than most if not all people will stand to become immoral. These skeptical viewpoints Glaucon made are known to be termed: ethical egoism and psychological egoism. Essentially these terms elude to the fact that people are selfish and the only thing that keeps them from behaving immorally is motivated by self-interest. "On this view, even when men are acting in ways apparently calculated to benefit others, they are actually motivated by the belief that acting in this way is to their own advantage" (Rachels, 2011 p. 52) Rachels argues than that…

Sources Used in Documents:


Rachels, J. (2011). Egoism and Moral Skepticism. In J. White, Contemporary Moral Problems (10th Ed.). New York: Cengage Learning.

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