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Ethical Egoism, a Failure of Moral Theories
Ethical Egoism, a Failure of Moral Theories

Author(s): Viviana Ivlampie
Subject(s): Social Sciences
Published by: Editura Lumen, Asociatia Lumen
Keywords: ethics; psychological egoism; normative egoism.
Summary/Abstract: This article aims to regard selfishness as a human conduct, as a norm of human behaviour. Selfishness is analysed as a psychological trait and as a moral norm. There are two perspectives in its research: psychological and normative. The first perspective has two sides. In its hard version, the psychological theory considers that a human being is motivated by and centred on herself / himself. According to this theory, even if their motivation is masked by good intentions, by duties or obligations, people always act in their own interests. The soft version of psychological egoism supports the possibility of an altruistic behaviour, but argues that the choice of action is an act of will of its agent. This leads to an end just because the agent wants it, for reasons that serve her / his own interest. The second perspective, of normative selfishness, claims that the agent of an action considers himself / herself as the most important entity. This theory appears in two forms: rational egoism and ethical egoism. As rational egoism claims, promoting personal interests is always justified and is in agreement with reason. There are also situations in which personal interests may come into disagreement with reason, which weaken the theory. Ethical egoism claims that the assertion of self-interest is consistent with morality. The main principle of behaviour is the one of self-interest that aggregates all the natural duties and natural obligations of the human being.Understanding the fact that human beings are similar to one another and that we should care for the others makes the theory of ethical egoism fail as a moral theory.

  • Page Range: 375-384
  • Page Count: 10
  • Publication Year: 2017
  • Language: English