Egoism Vs Altruism

750 Words2 Pages

We have studied the two major theories that answer the question, “who should I be?”. These theories are egoism and altruism. In this paper, I will argue that the correct moral theory lies in-between the theories of egoism and altruism.
When answering the question, “who should I be?” we need to pick the moral theory that allows us to achieve eudaimonia. Aristotle based his moral theory off of virtue ethics, the practice of finding the golden mean through reason, which is found between two vices. It can be reasonably inferred that Aristotle believed egoism and altruism to be vices and that in the middle lies the virtue, in this case the moral theory I am arguing for. Similarly, when answering the question “to be or to do?” William Frankena replied …show more content…

The bird evolution example further illustrates why an in-between moral theory is correct. In a perfect world, all birds would be suckers (altruism) where everyone grooms each other and the population flourishes. Unfortunately, there are many cheaters (egoism) in the world that refuse to groom others but receive grooming from the suckers. This results in the extinction of the suckers, followed by the death of all cheaters. In a world inhabited by grudgers (mix) who require mutual reciprocity, it would be impossible for the population to die. This directly correlates to human morality. One shouldn’t act like a narcissist in order to ensure their happiness, because in the end that will not make them happy. …show more content…

I will summarize her main argument, it goes as follows. The goal of life is to be happy. Altruism prescribes that we sacrifice our interests for the happiness of others. Therefore, altruism is incompatible with the goal of happiness. Egoism prescribes that we seek our own happiness exclusively. Therefore, ethical egoism is the correct moral theory. At the surface, this seems valid but Louis Pojman breaks down this argument. Pojman offers a critique with his four arguments against ethical egoism. Pojman starts with his inconsistent outcomes argument. This states that if everyone had their own belief system the world would be insane as everyone would be doing only what is best for them leaving the world chaotic. His publicity argument states that an egoist cannot express his egoistic ideas without harming his goal which is a contradiction. The paradox of egoism argument states that egoists would have to give up self-interest to maximize happiness, for example friendship. Lastly, the argument from counterintuitive consequences claims it’s always wrong to help others which seems wrong to most people. This leaves egoism with some major

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