Home > Philosophy essays > Psychological egoism and ethical egoism

Essay: Psychological egoism and ethical egoism

Essay details and download:

  • Subject area(s): Philosophy essays
  • Reading time: 4 minutes
  • Price: Free download
  • Published: 9 September 2015*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 1,045 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 5 (approx)

Text preview of this essay:

This page of the essay has 1,045 words. Download the full version above.

I have always looked at myself as an unselfish person with a good sense of empathy towards my friends and other people. I have always thought about egoism as something solely negative. That was before I knew the true meaning and concept of the word. Now I am no longer so sure; is it possible to be an absolute altruist? Is it possible to keep going on an absolute altruistic line of life without any egoistic subsidiary interference?
Psychological egoism is a human beings factual motivation in life. Psychological egoism builds around that our intended actions are always controlled by our own interests, wishes and motives. We are motivated by a wish to accomplish a sort of self-fulfillment, meaning that our actions in all aspects of our lives (from buying a sandwich because we are hungry, to studying for an exam to get a good grade) are all done because it is for our own beneficial interests, wishes and motives.
The definition for ethical egoism is basically ‘how we ought to act’. Ethical egoism builds itself around the idea that the best way to promote collective reimbursement, is to follow self-interests. By always striving for our own personal self-fulfillment a person will better be able to promote what is in the best interest of the community, more so than always striving to promote the community’s interests. A person is able to hold a sociable role that supports the general public by taking care of his or her own well-being and self-interest first.
The relationship between psychological egoism and ethical egoism is very clear. Since ethical egoism states that the best way to promote the welfare of others is by promoting your own self-interest, they kind of go hand in hand. But they are different since psychological egoism focus only on self-fulfillment and self-interest. The term ego means self. A body without an ego is just empty, without a soul. To deny one’s own ego is to deny one’s own mental existence, which is naturally not good for one’s mental health. To have a good mental health involves being an integrated and harmonized human being. This anticipates that you are an egoist. Without good mental health and personal harmony one does not make the right choices for either yourself or the welfare of other people around you.
The word altruism was first used by the French philosopher, Auguste Comte. Every human beings moral purpose is to serve others well-being on the expense of your own values. Altruism considers personal interest as something negative. Self-interest is per definition unmoral. It seems like being an altruist is to go against one’s self and breaking the connection between actions and beliefs, interests, and moral thoughts. It seems that in the altruistic model one constantly is trying to please other people and letting other’s needs and interests control their own actions. By always doing this there will be a constant split between one’s actions and one’s ego, making it very hard to be a harmonized human being. Being raised in an altruistic way seems to like living in a constant conflict with one’s self. By living a life of constant conflict with one’s self, there must be a big chance of developing poor self-confidence and irrational guilt.
Guilt is something you experience when something is in conflict with your own moral belief. Rational guilt is to feel guilt when one actually harms others. That type of guilt is good, because it aids learning to show consideration when it comes to others and their feelings. But irrational guilt, feeling guilty when you have not done anything wrong, is never positive. By reflecting about altruism, the feeling that altruism can create guilt in times when one does not do what other people want becomes apparent. That could make it very hard to say no, which lead to situations of victimization and being taken advantage of. In many situations in life, it is important to have a self-defense to protect one ‘s self and interests. The concept of a self-defense will always be egoistic, and involves the sub consciousness sense what is right or wrong. If a person believes that it’s wrong to think about themselves and feel guilty to do acts that are in their own interests, it gets very hard to make the right decisions. It makes you self-destructive to feel irrational guilt all the time. One has no emotional support for your own actions. To have personal opinions, it’s necessary to have sub-conscious support. The sub-consciousness needs to work for the personal best interest, because if the sub-consciousness gives priority to other’s beliefs, it will increase one’s sensitivity to criticism. To be sensitive to criticism is the same as being sensitive to other people’s thoughts.
It might seem logical that collectivism and altruism are important values to collaborate socially. This is completely wrong. Social competence is a quality of the individual. To work socially is to work as an individual in relation to other people, and to work as an individual one needs to be an egoist. It is not possible to become social by denying one’s ego. Altruistic behavior makes it easier for other people to manipulate feelings and actions. Confidence anticipates that one can trust their own sub-consciousness. Insecurity is driven by a lack of support from the sub-conscious. An altruistic belief leads to being very influenced by other people’s beliefs, and becoming insecure in social situations. It is also hard to work socially, if one is sensitive to criticism, and feel irrational guilt. Altruism makes one a target of outside control, which makes a self-controlled life problematic.
In conclusion, there is little to no room for altruism where egoism dominates. Altruists get motivated by what other people believe is best, and it seems like they need to be part of a collective were they can agree with others and feel safe. By having this as a priority the world would not develop without egoism, because to gain full potential one needs a sense of inner motivation to reveal their talents and gain a knowledge of who they really are and of what they as a single person can become capable.

...(download the rest of the essay above)

About this essay:

If you use part of this page in your own work, you need to provide a citation, as follows:

Essay Sauce, Psychological egoism and ethical egoism. Available from:<https://www.essaysauce.com/philosophy-essays/essay-psychological-egoism-and-ethical-egoism/> [Accessed 20-02-24].

These Philosophy essays have been submitted to us by students in order to help you with your studies.

* This essay may have been previously published on Essay.uk.com at an earlier date.