Ethical egoism is a type of moral code that dictates individuals makemoral decisions for to fulfill their self-interest (Pojman andFieser, 78). Therefore, when such a person has a moral dilemma, theyshould consider the options, which protect and help themselves.Proponents of ethical egoism argue that this model leads a person tomake choices that improve their future. If someone takes up thissystem of morality, it will take them on a constant journey ofimproving themselves. Srzednicki, Jan, and David argue that ethicalegoism makes them consistent in making choices that would developtheir lives (67). It also rids them of the weight of peer pressure.Instead of basing their decision-making processes on current trendsand peer pressure, they would think about their choices and theirimplications more critically. If someone gets into an environmentwhere there is a strong temptation to do wrong, they are unlikely togo with the crowd. They would first consider the implications of thesuggested actions and their effects on their well-being. Therefore,there is a greater self-awareness compared to another person who isnot following this system.
In the current world, most people’s motivation to do the rightthing is the external factors around them. Employees do their work tomake the bosses happy spouses perform their duties to appease eachother, and children perform acts of obedience just to honor theirparents. However, according to supporters of ethical egoism, one hasa higher purpose for doing the right things. Srzednicki, Jan, andDavid argue that the greatest obligation one has in this world is tooneself (67). Therefore, honoring this responsibility ensures thatone fulfills their life’s biggest cause. If everyone in a societywere practicing ethical egoism, there would be a marked improvementin it. This progress would be a result of the combined efforts ofeach person doing the right thing. The less fortunate in the societywould seek to improve their lives and stop depending on other peoplefor their sustenance (MacKinnon and Fiala, 43). They would insteadstrive to improve the quality of their lives.
On the other end of the spectrum, some people are totally against theidea of ethical egoism. MacKinnon and Fiala argue that if everyonethought of themselves first, they would be less likely to care aboutother people’s welfare (41). If practiced on a national or globalscale, ethical egoism would create a lack of warmth and compassion asno one would be helping other members of the society. Ethical egoistsallege that this moral code would cause a loss of objectivity if oneonly thinks about concerning everything is whether it will help themas an individual. They claim that it would make relationships losethe care and selflessness, which fuel them.
An example of ethical egoism is a person paying back a friend whom heowes money, not because it is the right thing to pay back what heowes, but because he does not want to lose that friendship. In thiscase, the motivation is the self-interest that causes him to hold onto the friendship because of the benefits he can gain from it (Pojmanand Fieser, 89). He does not care about the friend’s interests, butonly about their own. Another example is a woman seeking the companyof a male friend to take them to a movie, not because she cares forhis interests, but because she needs company and the area may beunsafe to travel alone. She is thinking of her interests firsts thefriend is only there to suit her selfish interests.
MacKinnon B. and Fiala Andrew. Ethics: Theory and ContemporaryIssues, Concise Edition, Cengage Learning, 2015. Print
Pojman Louis and Fieser James, Cengage Advantage Ethics: DiscoveringRight and Wrong, Cengage Learning, 2016. Internet source.
Srzednicki, Jan T. J, and David Wood. Essays on Philosophy inAustralia. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, 2013. Internetresource.