Ethical Egoism Essay

903 Words4 Pages
Ethical egoism is the position that moral individuals ought to do what is in their own self-interest. Ethical egoism contrasts with ethical altruism in which suggests that moral people have an obligation to help others. Ethical egoism does not, require moral individuals to harm the interests and well-being of others when making moral deliberation. These are a few underlying points presented in both Ayn Rands and James Rachels’s pieces on Ethical Egoism. Ayn Rand deals with a more selfish approach whereas James Rachels believes that people should look out for one another. The paper will express Rand’s description of ethical egoism and the arguments she gives in support of ethical egoism, in the piece “The Virtue of Selfishness,” and also encompass James Rachels’s rebuttal to Rand’s views on ethical egoism In her book The Virtue of Selfishness, Ayn Rand argues that selfishness is a virtue and altruism a vice, leads to the undermining of individual worth. Rand defines altruism as the view that “Any action taken for the benefit of others is good, and any action taken for one’s own benefit is evil. Thus, the beneficiary of an action is the only criterion of moral value so as long as the beneficiary is anybody other than oneself, anything goes” (Rand, 525). She furthermore goes on to state two difference moral questions in which altruism raises (1) What are values? (2) Who should be the beneficiary of values? Henceforth stating that the second question is substituted for the first furthermore evading the questions all together elaborating on the idea that altruism has no set of moral values thus leaving man with no moral guidance. The passage continues on stressing the lack of a moral code in today’s society and how inconsistent it ap... ... middle of paper ... ... our own decisions. Whether they be good or bad depends on how you view your moral code. Ethical egoism teaches us that we ought to do what we as individuals feel is right. James Rachels and Ayn Rand are on opposite sides differing in opinions on the Ethical Egoism topic. Rachels depicts that as humans all living together in a confined space like that of a neighborhood, we should all look out for one another. Rand in opposition states that as individuals we should only care about ourselves and that the best way to achieve true happiness is to do only that. Being the logical choice my views coincide with that of James Rachels and that if society as a whole came together and simply watched over one another for protection, simple gestures of happiness, and the occasional greeting as the neighbor drives down the street, the world as we know it may be that much better.
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