Ethical Egoism and Human Rights

Discussions that deal with moral issues. Key questions in ethics include: How should one live? What is right (or wrong) to do? What is the best way for humans to live?

Ethical Egoism and Human Rights

Postby coolalligator15 on November 29th, 2011, 3:06 pm 

Ethical Egoism: a code of ethics that advocates pursuing one's best interest and avoiding personal harm in all circumstances.


Some claim that Ethical Egoism is not a good moral theory because it does not allow for human rights.

I would argue that Ethical Egoism does in fact leads to that natural development of human rights standards. In looking out for our own best interest, we make compromises and cooperate with others.

(ex. human rights violations in Latin America ---> NGOs like Amnesty International)

What would you say to this?
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Re: Ethical Egoism and Human Rights

Postby Newagemystic on November 30th, 2011, 3:50 am 

coolalligator15 wrote:Ethical Egoism: a code of ethics that advocates pursuing one's best interest and avoiding personal harm in all circumstances.


Some claim that Ethical Egoism is not a good moral theory because it does not allow for human rights.

I would argue that Ethical Egoism does in fact leads to that natural development of human rights standards. In looking out for our own best interest, we make compromises and cooperate with others.

(ex. human rights violations in Latin America ---> NGOs like Amnesty International)

What would you say to this?


I would say that I agree, if greed wasn't a factor. Greed makes us compromise only when it suits us, and then, only by terms that would favor us. Usually this means the person we comprise with is getting the raw end of the deal. Cooperating with others is well and good, but not when people are screwed over in the process. We view greed as unethical, people that only look after their own interests can be seen as selfish or greedy.

It's not always the case, sometimes the compromise benefits many just as much, if not more, than the person looking out for their interests only. But greed is generally frowned upon, whether or not people are seen as gredy is another matter entirely.
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Re: Ethical Egoism and Human Rights

Postby Counterfactual Man on November 30th, 2011, 4:30 pm 

coolalligator15 wrote:Ethical Egoism: a code of ethics that advocates pursuing one's best interest and avoiding personal harm in all circumstances.


Some claim that Ethical Egoism is not a good moral theory because it does not allow for human rights.

I would argue that Ethical Egoism does in fact leads to that natural development of human rights standards. In looking out for our own best interest, we make compromises and cooperate with others.

(ex. human rights violations in Latin America ---> NGOs like Amnesty International)

What would you say to this?


Hi There,

As I understand it, ethical egoism is true, iff:

1. An action a has moral value only from the point of view of agent s, and
2. a is morally permissible iff a contributes towards s's well being

Your argument suggests that working towards our own well being can occasionally have good consequences. Other than perhaps agreeing with you on this statement, I don't really see how can it justify ethical egoism.

Cheers,
The Counterfactual Man
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Re: Ethical Egoism and Human Rights

Postby Laconic Lethality on December 4th, 2011, 10:20 am 

Let us not forget that in many conflicts, both parties act out of good will for their own interests, regarding conflict as a means to an end and their personal goals as an end in themselves. In economics, it may be said that two parties acting in their own interest will always benefit from trade (According to Prof. Mankiw), but generally there is some externality in which a third party, or both original parties, will be injured. My way of analyzing this is to eliminate passion and drive in order to view things the way Sartre would, as an end or a means to an end. In addition, one could also argue that Raskolnikov, the nihilist, placed his crime as a means and his future as an intellectual as the end. By all means, an individual should follow his own drives in company with his own ethics, but only in certain cases can law itself be transcended.
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