Psychological egoism is the belief that all human actions are motivated by self-interest. This theory suggests that people are naturally selfish and that everything they do is ultimately for their own benefit. Ethical egoism, on the other hand, states that the morality of an action depends on the self-interest of the person performing the act. According to this theory, it is immoral for an individual to act against their own self-interest.
These two concepts are closely related, as ethical egoism is based on the principles of psychological egoism. However, ethical egoism goes beyond the focus on self-fulfillment and emphasizes the idea that people should strive to maximize their own self-interest.
In practice, this means that when an individual chooses to help another person, they are likely doing so with a hidden agenda, rather than truly selfless motives. This is often seen in politicians and CEOs, who may appear to be acting for the benefit of others, but ultimately have their own interests in mind.
Despite this focus on self-interest, it is important for egoists to also consider the consequences of their actions for the greater good. In order to be morally justified, they should not solely focus on their own pleasure and seek to reduce their own pain, but also consider the impact on the wider community.
Consequentialism is the ethical theory that the moral value of an action is determined by its consequences. This means that an action is only considered right if it produces good results. Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism because it also focuses on the outcomes of an action in order to determine its morality. Both consequentialism and utilitarianism argue that an action is moral if it benefits the greatest number of people involved.
However, consequentialism differs from pragmatism, which is more concerned with the practicality of an action and its ability to solve real-world problems. It also differs from deontological ethics, which holds that the morality of an action is determined by a set of rules, regardless of its consequences.
I support the consequentialist approach because it allows for the consideration of the consequences of an action before it is performed. I believe it is immoral to blindly follow rules without considering the impact of the action on others. Instead, I believe it is important to act democratically and consider the welfare of the entire society when determining the moral value of an action.
UTILITARIAN VS. IMMANUEL KANT ON MORALITY
Utilitarianism and Immanuel Kant's moral theories have different approaches to determining the moral value of an action. According to utilitarianism, the moral worth of an action is determined by its consequences. If an action produces good results and benefits the greatest number of people, it is considered morally right. On the other hand, Kant argued that the morality of an action is determined by reason, as outlined in his concept of the Categorical Imperative.
While both theories have their own merits, I prefer the utilitarian approach because it focuses on the outcomes of an action. I believe it is more important to consider the actual impact of an action on others rather than simply following logical standards. However, I do acknowledge that Kant's emphasis on rational thinking can also be useful in determining the morality of an action. Ultimately, it is important to consider both the consequences and the intentions behind an action in order to determine its moral value.
Solomon, R.C. (2009) Morality and the Good Life: An Introduction to Ethics Through Classical
Sources, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.