James Rachels And Ethical Egoism

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There are strong arguments that are in favor of psychological egoism and ethical egoism, as show by James Rachels. He gives both of these topics fair reasoning, but is much more successful in showing their weaknesses. According to James Rachels, there are two egos that need to be argued: Psychological egoism and ethical egoism. Within his essay, Rachels proves that there is no way either of these egoisms could be correct. Rachels defines psychological egoism as the view that “all men are selfish in everything that they do, that is, that the only motive from which anyone ever acts is self-interest” (72) and ethical egoism is “a normative view about how men ought to act” (72) . First, with psychological egoism, Rachels argues the common-sense…show more content…
“Since so-called unselfish actions… rather than to bring about any good for others” (74). I believe this argument is correct, because I do often accomplish unselfish actions simply to feel satisfied with myself, or at least to avoid feeling shameful. When I give a homeless man some change, I do it to avoid the feeling of guilt I feel if I keep walking. However, as Rachels points out, “Why should we think that merely because someone derives satisfaction from helping others this makes him selfish? Isn’t the unselfish man precisely the one who does derive satisfaction from helping others, while the selfish man does not?” (74). The main point of this is that this “pleasant state of consciousness” we obtain from assisting others is not the goal we seek but a mere result of behaving selflessly. In most cases we do not feel good about ourselves and then seek out a way to help others so that we feel more satisfied, but we help others for the sake of being kind and feeling delighted about ourselves afterwards. The only way we feel satisfied is if we desire the satisfaction, meaning that we will receive no satisfaction from behaving kindly if we do not have the desire to help others in the first place. These being the two most forceful arguments in favour of psychological egoism, and both being hopelessly flawed, Rachels keeps in mind why some successful people have accepted it as a true belief. He believes that…show more content…
Rachels would like prove to it as a false belief, but this is not as simple as it is with psychological egoism. A lot would believe that we must act in our own self-interest as distasteful. The ethical egoist may argue that “even if I could avoid being caught… people’s rights and interests are respected” (78). If we understand ethical egoism properly, it is understood that one does not need to behave badly, only encourage bad behavior. To say something is wrong is the same as to say that it is wrong for everyone. Alos, the ethical egoist cannot debate that egoism be commonly used, “For he wants a world… then such a world would be impossible” (163). Consequently, it seems that it is not a good thing to preserve ethical egoism as a normal way for how we should act. However, Rachels does not believe this is good enough to end the belief. The point of the ethical egoist is to live doing what they want to do. It might seem that because the do one thing and do another that his position is unpredictable, therefore, the ethical egoist cannot be proven on the grounds that he challenges

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