The Moral of the Story in Friends Episode Essay

The Moral of the Story in Friends Episode Essay

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In chapter four of the textbook titled The Moral of the Story we are encountered with theories of human nature, as well as a brief overview of an episode of Friends which deals with the complexity of the term psychological egoism. The issue in this episode is whether or not Joey can be proved wrong by Phoebe that all acts of kindness are not done to achieve personal gain, but rather that an act of kindness can be done simply to help another person while expecting nothing in return. Personally, I believe the theory to be fixed since there is a list of flaws that don’t allow this concept to stand alone on its own two feet. After reading the assigned chapter and comparing all the history and concepts behind this theory, I find it fair to say that this belief is not 100 percent accurate. In this essay I will explain the theory of psychological egoism and all its subparts as well as to why I support the opinion of altruism rather than egoism.
In this episode, Joey is the egoist and Phoebe is the altruist. The egoist is someone who does something for someone with the expectation of gaining something in return, and an altruist is someone who does things for others merely out of the kindness of their own hearts (Rosenstand, 2013). Many people would agree to believe that Phoebes attempt to prove the theory of psychological egoism wrong was a failure from the start due to her statement “I will not let my babies be raised in a world where Joey is right”, this statement leads me to believe that Phoebe will do whatever it takes to gain satisfaction over Joey. This is the very essence of an egoist. Rosenstand informs us “psychological egoism is a theory that states that whatever it may look like and whatever we may think it is, no human action...


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...s pain) and she benefits from the pleasure of pain aside from her initial goal of proving Joey wrong. Regardless of the situation there is always something that can be found to counteract the possibility that this theory is flawed.
In the final analysis of this paper I have to say that the theory of egoism and altruism are merely individual preferences. One person may feel he or she is an egoist where another person actively displays acts of altruism. Whatever the case may be, I find it fair to say that we as humans exercise both of these beliefs at least once in our lifetime. To say that one theory is right and the other theory is wrong would implicate that we as humans are not capable of adjusting our motives for each individual act we engage in. I like to believe that when I perform an act of kindness, that it is genuine and not assumed to be secretly selfish.

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