- Explain the basic difference between psychological egoism and ethical egoism.
Ethical egoism is majorly inclined towards the school of thought that suggests that actions should be taken by a person only whilst pursuant to their own interests. In this regard, the self comes before others. On the other hand, psychological egoism simply suggests that people naturally act out of self-interest. Essentially, psychological egoism only states the fact of human nature to seek out self-benefiting indulgences before thinking about their repercussions on those surrounding them.
- Give two different formulations or versions of psychological egoism and ethical egoism.
Psychological egoism consists of the facts that: all humans seek to act out of their very own self-interests, while the other alludes to the fact that we may decide to act out of self-interest but end up realizing that whatever we did was not in the best of our interests.
Ethical egoism integrates the concepts of: individualism; where I am entitled to act in tandem with the best of my interests while the other perception justifies the fact that we all, should act within the thresholds of our best interests. Categorically, these formulations prioritize of the perception of self above all else.
- Is psychological egoism true, and what must be shown to prove its truth?
With respect to the arguments formulated as appertaining to the subject of psychological egoism, we can assert that it is true. In order to prove the truth in it, we ought to realize that we all act in our best of interests at all times. During periods when we do not, then it may only be an error in judgement on our part or our innate sense of charity which hardly occurs where personal gain is bound to be achieved.
- How is psychological egoism supposed to provide support for an argument for ethical egoism? What is one problem for this argument?
Psychological egoism supports ethical egoism by offering express justification that since we are inclined to a certain nature or behavioural tendency, then we should behave in that very way. The major problem of this argument is that it offers no moral efficacy and thereby inadequate in developing proper human behaviour.
- Summarize the arguments regarding the consistency or inconsistency of ethical egoism.
Ethical egoism is quite inconsistent with regard to the expectations or realities that come with acting in own self best interest. If a person is inclined to work in his own best interest, then he should also come to terms with the fact that other people, like him, would also need to act in their own self-interest. Therefore, someone may lack otherwise necessary assistance due to the upholding of ethical egoism.
- In what sense does the argument for ethical egoism based on economics support not egoism but utilitarianism—in other words, the view that we ought to do what is in the best interest of all or the greatest number?
Utilitarianism supports the fact that persons should act for the overall greater good. Quintessentially, the majority rule perspective is employed to serve the needs of the great part of the population, since their needs seem to be of much greater importance than the service to self.
- Explain how the prisoner’s dilemma can be used in discussions of egoism and cooperative endeavour.
Where two prisoners set out to perform a task that involves benefit for both, it is imperative that they trust each other. As such, it is important that their efforts are directed towards mutual rather than individual gain for optimal and desirable results. The prisoner’s dilemma is used to illustrate the need for teamwork and selflessness. When our efforts are not pursuant to self-gratification, the results are overwhelmingly exemplary.
- What is meant by taking the “moral point of view?”
The statement, “moral point of view”, may be used to hone some aspect of morality and consciousness towards partaking in activities that may be in the worst of our interests but are the right thing to do, in light of the specific occurrences. The statement may also be used to encourage impartiality in decision-making such as a person considers the plight on another due to whatsoever actions they may decide to take.
- How does the example of the “ring of Gyges” illustrate the question: “Why be moral?”
If it was possible to do the wrong thing and avoid the consequences thereof, would it be okay to do that thing? Is there any justification for doing the wrong thing at any point anyway? “The ring of Gyges” illustration poses these questions to us to ascertain our moral obligation to our actions and whether we should justify our wrongdoings.
- Is Hobbes’ proposed solution to the problem of egoism, via the social contract, acceptable?
The social contract by Hobbes suggests that people can be coerced to act differently from their psychological egoistic natures by offering them incentives to do so. While he alludes to the fact that it is possible that humans act selflessly, his articulation of the complete absence of altruism in human actions is rather flawed. The idea that humans need to feel a certain nature of recompense be it material or emotional for their actions, is inaccurate. Therefore, his proposed solution cannot be considered as a quick-fix solution to the problem of psychological egoism.