Egoism Essay

Egoism Essay

Length: 1148 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Egoism


There is no word more generally misinterpreted than the word egoism, in its modern sense. In the first place, it is supposed to
mean devotion to self interest, without regard to the interest of others. It is thus opposed to altruism - devotion to others and
sacrifice of self. This interpretation is due to the use of the word thus antithetically by Herbert Spencer.

Again, it is identified with hedonism or eudaimonism, or epicureanism, philosophies that teach that the attainment of pleasure or
happiness or advantage, whichever you may choose to phrase it, is the rule of life.

Modern egoism, as propounded by Stirner and Nietzsche, and expounded by Ibsen, Shaw and others, is all these; but it is
more. It is the realization by the individual that he is an individual; that, as far as he is concerned, he is the only individual.

For each one of us stands alone in the midst of a universe. He is surrounded by sights and sounds which he interprets as
exterior to himself, although all he knows of them are the impressions on his retina and ear drums and other organs of sense.
The universe for him is measured by these sensations; they are, for him, the universe. Some of them he interprets as denoting
other individuals, whom he conceives as more or less like himself. But none of these is himself. He stands apart. His
consciousness, and the desires and gratifications that enter into it, is a thing unique; no other can enter into it.

However near and dear to you may be your wife, children, friends, they are not you; they are outside of you. You are forever
alone. Your thoughts and emotions are yours alone. There is no other who experiences your thoughts or your feelings.

No doubt it gives you pleasure when other...


... middle of paper ...


...ty lives;
they are for the egoist as though they were not.

"Filial love and respect" he will give to his parents if they have earned it by deserving it. If they have beaten him in infancy, and
scorned him in childhood, and domineered over him in maturity, he may possibly love them in spite of maltreatment; but if they
have alienated his affection, they will not reawaken it by an appeal to "duty."

In brief, egoism in its modern interpretation, is the antithesis, not of altruism, but of idealism. The ordinary man - the idealist -
subordinates his interests to the interests of his ideals, and usually suffers for it. The egoist is fooled by no ideals: he discards
them or uses them, as may suit his own interest. If he likes to be altruistic, he will sacrifice himself for others; but only because
he likes to do so; he demands no gratitude nor glory in return.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Ethical Egoism And The Right Action Essay

- A Morally Permissible Lie Suppose a person finds himself in a situation where he can merely bend the truth a bit for his own personal gain; he is at a very low risk of being caught; and even if he does get caught, there will be little to no consequences for his actions. Would it be morally permissible to lie in this situation. Conventional moral judgments may immediately throw up a red flag, signaling that this action is immoral because lying is wrong. The answer is not quite as clear as it seems....   [tags: Ethics, Morality, Ethical egoism, Individualism]

Strong Essays
727 words (2.1 pages)

Psychological and Ethical Egoism Essay

- Egoism is a teleological theory of ethics that sets the ultimate criterion of morality in some nonmoral value (i.e. happiness or welfare) that results from acts (Pojman 276). It is contrasted with altruism, which is the view that one's actions ought to further the interests or good of other people, ideally to the exclusion of one's own interests (Pojman 272). This essay will explain the relation between psychological egoism and ethical egoism. It will examine how someone who believes in psychological egoism explains the apparent instances of altruism....   [tags: Ethics Psychological Egoism]

Strong Essays
1876 words (5.4 pages)

Psychological Egoism Essay

- Psychological Egoism Psychological egoism is a reflex that every person has to orient themselves toward their own welfare. Through this, it follows that every one of his (or her) voluntary actions is some good to himself. If someone gives away the last piece of bread to someone else, it is because they want to look like a better person. Due to the fact that they would give away the last piece of bread. Human nature is completely and exclusively egoistic. People are entirely selfish and devoid of any genuine feelings of sympathy, benevolence, or sociability....   [tags: Psychology Selfishness Selfish Egoism essays]

Free Essays
1976 words (5.6 pages)

Altruism and Egoism Essay

- In popular culture, an altruistic person is connoted with being a genuine individual that plays as a role model for others, but an egotistic person is synonymous with an evil beast that squashes over anything to attain his own end. However, the views of Ayn Rand heavily collide with these mainstream perceptions of Altruism and Egoism. Rand believes that the basic principle of altruism "is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, his service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value."(1) Thus, she conceptualizes altruism as an ethical dilemma for the person whom sacrifice is demanded....   [tags: Literature]

Strong Essays
1131 words (3.2 pages)

Ethical Theories Of Ethical Egoism Essay

- Ethical Egoism is a theory of morality that states “one ought always to maximize one’s own personal good as an end” (Holmes 55). In other words, Ethical Egoism is a moral viewpoint that believes it is morally right to only do what maximizes our own good or happiness. It is important to distinguish the differences between egoism and ethical egoism. An egoist may be considered selfish in that they are only concerned with maximizing their own personal good. In contrast, an ethical egoist would not be considered selfish in that they believe that everyone should maximize their own personal good and that it should be universal, not individual (Holmes 55)....   [tags: Ethics, Morality, Consequentialism]

Strong Essays
1343 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on Ethical Egoism Should Not Be Happy

- Is it morally right to love oneself before loving someone else. Is the ideal of sacrificing our ideals and virtues for someone else to be happy. Which sounds better. In our society today, we live by the idea that in order to be happy, we must put that to the side in order for others to seek happiness. Doesn’t that sound backwards, in any sense. Wouldn’t make sense to have self-worth and be happy and content with ourselves first. With that being said, everyone would already be happy because everyone is happy with themselves, and then we wouldn’t have to worry about everyone else being happy....   [tags: Morality, Ethics, Ayn Rand, Happiness]

Strong Essays
1228 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Ethical Egoism

- “People act for many reasons; but for whom, or what, do or should they act—for themselves, for God, or for the good of the planet?” (Moseley) An egoist would argue that one acts for one’s own self. More specifically, an ethical egoist is one who thrives to improve ones own self being, with much respect to morality. Ethical Egoism is the theory that one should pursue his or her own interest above all the rest. It is the idea that all persons should act from their own self interest in relation to morality....   [tags: Philosophy ]

Strong Essays
1545 words (4.4 pages)

Psychological Egoism Essay

- Psychological Egoism is a claim that one’s own welfare is the governing aim that guides us in every action. This would mean that every action and decisions humans make come with an intention for self-benefit, and personal gain. The fundamental idea behind psychological egoism is that our self-interest is the one motive that governs human beings. This idea may be so deep within our morals and thought process that although one may not think selfishly, the intention of their action is representing to a degree of personal gains....   [tags: Reciprocal Altruism, Natural Selection]

Strong Essays
1383 words (4 pages)

Egoism Essay

- Egoism There is no word more generally misinterpreted than the word egoism, in its modern sense. In the first place, it is supposed to mean devotion to self interest, without regard to the interest of others. It is thus opposed to altruism - devotion to others and sacrifice of self. This interpretation is due to the use of the word thus antithetically by Herbert Spencer. Again, it is identified with hedonism or eudaimonism, or epicureanism, philosophies that teach that the attainment of pleasure or happiness or advantage, whichever you may choose to phrase it, is the rule of life....   [tags: Papers]

Strong Essays
1148 words (3.3 pages)

Psychological Egoism Essay

- Psychological Egoism      The descriptive claim made by Psychological Egoists is that humans, by nature, are motivated only by self-interest. Any act, no matter how altruistic it may seem on the outside is actually only a disguise for a selfish desire such as recognition, avoiding guilt, reward or sense of personal ‘goodness’ or morality. For example, Mother Teresa is just using the poor for her own long-term spiritual gain. Being a universal claim, it could falter with a single counterexample....   [tags: Psychology Psychological Essays]

Strong Essays
490 words (1.4 pages)