James Rachels: “A Critique of Ethical Egoism”. Why do we allow people to starve to death when we could save them? Two kinds of explanation: 1. psychological. Self-Driving Cars in Dilemmatic Situations: An Approach Based on the Theory of Justification in Criminal ó Coca-Vila – – Criminal Law and. Ethical egoism is the normative ethical position that moral agents ought to do what is in their In the words of James Rachels, “Ethical egoism endorses selfishness, but it doesn’t endorse foolishness.” Ethical egoism is often used as the.

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In Egoism and Moral Skepticism by James Rachels, the moral ideas of psychological egoism and ethical egoism are explained. These two ethical standpoints are different in that psychological egoism is more about how racheels think while ethical egoism is about how people ought to think.

Steinblog: Rachels and Ethical Egoism

Both, though, are hard concepts to believe anyone in the human race can truly hold. Psychological egoism is the idea that all men are selfish, and that we only do things for our own self-interests. Ethical egoism is the idea that people ought to only do things for their self-interests, and that we should only feel obligated to do things for ourselves, regardless of the effect it may have on others.

Both of these ideas seem pretty self-centered and disgustingly inhumane.


In my opinion, they are. Psychological egoism is a terrible outlook on the human race, and it is not how we should be.

racels It seems to be a sad rachele on our mindsets. It is a fair claim, considering deep down everything we do, even the most selfless things, are deep down pleasing for us in some way. Either way, yes, the things we do all have some underlying benefit for ourselves, but it is not a good thing to look at the human race as people only trying to do things for their own benefit.

Ethical egoism is even worse than psychological egoism. It is not just a bad way to look at the way people behave, but it is a selfish sort of mentality that we supposedly should feel obligated to have. For someone to be a real ethical egoist, they would have to have no compassion or sympathy for anyone else.

Rachels Psychological and Ethical Egoism

You would have to be so narcissistic, self-centered, and inconsiderate. There are very people who can be this way.

There are so many natural feelings we have to not be completely evil that just come with being humans. We do not come into this world careless and thoughtless about everyone around us.

Ethical egoism

The only way people turn out that way is through mental illness or a traumatic upbringing or lifestyle that forced them to have that sort of mindset to survive or succeed. Overall I do not think that it is natural or ideal for anyone to have the psychological egoist mindset or to believe that we should live believing that we have the ethifal that the ethical egoist concept suggests.


Both of these are negative when it comes to real life application, no matter how much sense they may or not make. In Egoisn, giving to the poor is an obligation. Charitable work is not something that Jews necessarily want to do, but they have to do it. Although the goal behind this is to have altruistic beliefs, it could also be motivated by self-interest.

The point that I am trying to make is that even if actions, such as the Jewish obligation to be charitable, have unselfish motivation, they can end up having egoistic results. I am not saying that I am etuical egoist, I just want to point out that egoism is relevant in even the most unselfish acts. You must be logged in to post a comment.

James Rachels, Two arguments against ethical egoism – PhilPapers

Cambridge University Press, sec. This entry was posted in Meta-Ethics. Rachel Sirotkin September 19, at 9: Leave a Reply Cancel reply You must be logged in to post a comment. Animal Rights and Abortion Daniel J. Park on Moral Consistency: Proudly powered by WordPress.