Philosophy 1004 Lecture #6 February 4, 2010 ?Argument from Avoiding Misery? If we would never do an action that promised only personal isery, then all of our actions are done in an effort to avoid such misery. We would never do an action tht promised only personal misery. Therefore, all our actions are done in an effort to avoid personal misery ? and that?s self-interest. Premise 2. May well be false, e.g., gymnast. Premise 1. Is suspect because it relies on this principle: (P) If I would never do an action that promised me only X, then I am always trying to avoid X. Am I always trying to avoid Mike Tyson? Self-Interest and Selfishness Imagine a mother who gives the last of her food to save her child PE Responder: This isn?t altruism. The mother is just trying to avoid being upset by the death of her child Doesn?t this conflate selfishness and self-interest? When I go to the doctor for a check-up, I am acting out of self-interest but it seems silly to say that this is selfish. Is the case of the mother even a case of self-intests Surly her despair at seeing her child starves is because she cares for the child for the child?s sake. PE just doesn?t seem rational. Ethical Egoism (Consequentialism) Whereas PE just claims to tell us how we do act, Ethical Egoism (EE) tells us how we should act. Our only moral duty is to pursue our own self-interest exclusively. This does not mean that we should avoid actions that will help others, just that we should only help others when it benefits us. EE doesn?t advocate doing anything we like or enjoy. It says we should do whatever wil be in our best interest. Ethical Egoism EE can seem compatible with common sense morality Duty not to harm others: If we harm others they will not feel compelled to protect us. Duty not to lie: By lying we will suffer from a bad reputation, etc. Duty to keep promises: It is better to enter into mutually beneficial agreements. We often need to rely on them and couldn?t do so if others didn?t trust us. Ethical Egoism EE claims that altruism is self-defeating. We are all familiar with our own needs but we can?t say, for sure, what the needs of others are. To interfere in the lives of others is an intrusion of their privacy. Charity towards others robs them of their self-respect. Depriving others of self-reliance is not a good thing but is this what we are doing when we are being charitable, e.g., Hatiti? Aren?t some of these points self-refuting? If we should only care for our own self-interest, then who cares if our actions harm others. Ethical Egoism An argument for EE One only has one life to live. If one?s life has moral worth, then that life is of supreme importance. Altruism requires self-sacrifice and does?t, therefore, take one?s life seriously. EE says one should take one?s own life seriously. Therefore, we ought to accept EE. This appears to be a false dichotomy: we either ignore the plight of others or sacrifice ourselves. Perhaps both need to be balanced. Ethical Egoism Problem for EE: it seems to endorse morally wicked actions. Argument for EE If you are morally required to do something, then you have good reason to do it. Looks acceptable If there is good reason for you to do something, then doining it must advance your interests. Looks doubtful. Arer self-p[romoteing reasons the only good reasons for doin something? ?If we can help someone without risking something of morally comparable significance, then we should do so.? More problems for EE EE violates core moral beliefs. This doesn?t refute EE all by itself but it does suggest that we need a good argument for EE we don?t have one. EE doesn?t allow for moral rights. If EE is true, then I don?t have a moral right not to be killed by you (when it is in your best-interest). This just seems wrong. Egoism arbitrarily assigns priority to self-interest. Perhaps we are morally permitted to have some limited prority over others, e.g., Huntingaccident. But this doresn?t allow for complete priority over others Racism, sexism, etc, have atleast one thing in common; they always assign greater interest to on groupthan antother. A general prinicable against such harassment. Cponculsion Fuck it.
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