Ethical Egoism Essay
Ethical egoism is the view that each of us ought to pursue self-interest, and it is our own obligation to promote self-interest. In other words, one shall not act for the good of others, but for the benefit of oneself. It may be, however, for the good of others also, but doing the act is for the best interest of the doer. Basically, in simplest terms, the actions done by a person is for boosting his/her ego, no matter what kind of action it is. Under this view, it is moral to do such. There are, however, conflicting views with regard to ethical egoism.
Morality depends on the customs, traditions, and laws where a person is domiciled. One’s action is dictated basically by the society. There are, however, other views that a person, by its nature, is good or bad. Nonetheless, it boils down to the customary of a society – it is always dictated. So for an action to be ethical, it must be within the standards of the customs. Because the person acts within the standards of morality dictated by the society, he/she will feel good about it.
However, this actually depends on the action – whether it is an overt or covert act. If it is an overt act, it also depends whether the action is known by the society; that is, by donating blood in a drive or when killing a person and there is a clear evidence that will put the doer into incarceration. The act must be seen by the society, where it will be judged as moral. Then, it will be reciprocated by an ego boost. Otherwise, the act may be immoral yet still boosting one’s ego. There are however other people who choose a covert act, yet still the act is within the moral standards of the society.
An example of ethical egoism is running for the highest position in the elections. The benefit depends on the doer. To win the election, one has to act accordingly to the morals of the society. When the candidate wins the election, he has to also fulfill his duties to his people. He only does this because running for election and winning the same actually makes the person feel good about it. It is for his self-interest because the position gives him the boost of his ego and the validation of the people makes him feel good. There is, however, a problem, when the person may seem to act well in front of the people yet is illegally trying to win over the hearts of the people: by cheating and killing people. The candidate still acts for his own benefit, but does he act morally? Maybe yes, maybe not.
Another issue with regard to ethical egoism is the conflict of interest of two individuals. If two people share the same interest, how should this be resolved? Some philosophers that the resolution is to “might is right.” This means that the stronger gets to possess the benefit above the weaker one. There are however those who argue that the benefit must be shared by the two individuals. This raises the question of what are the standards dictated by the society.
This view in simplest terms means one person will act only because it feels good. If the action does not feel good, one will not do the act. So, whether or not the action is moral within the dictates of the society does not matter in this case. As long as the action will benefit the person, it is moral. As most philosophers may argue, free will is the end all and be all of the actions of a person.