Essay on Psychological vs Ethical Egoism

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Psychological Egoism and Ethical Egoism: A Comparison


There is a certain innate desire to help others, just as others will feel that same fulfillment for returning that aid. At the same time, however, there is also an inherent yearning to seek out one’s own best interest. This brings about a discussion regarding the difference between psychological egoism and ethical egoism. To understand the similarities and differences, one must first understand the two concepts including their natures, as well as their doctrines of motivation.

Psychological Egoism and Ethical Egoism: A Comparison

Human beings place great value on the interests of both themselves and others. There is a certain innate desire to
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Alternatively, the weak version of ethical egoism always considers advancing one’s own good to be moral, however, it does not necessarily consider it immoral not to work to advance one’s own good (Mosely, 2006). The primary difference between psychological and ethical egoism is that psychological egoism addresses the way things are, while ethical egoism focuses on how things should be (Kalin, 1970). Furthermore, psychological egoism addresses parts of human nature, while ethical egoism deals with morality. Neither of these theories are without their flaws and criticisms. As much as they each have their followers and supporters, so, too, do they have their opponents. For example, challengers of the psychological egoism have found that it can be somewhat erroneous when it comes to application to reality. The fallacy of psychological egoism is that people commonly behave not in a way that they wish to, but in a way that they feel that they ought to. Consider that even if a person has a yearning to break a promise, that person may not break the promise due to a feeling of obligation to keep it. Therefore, even though what that person most wants to do is break the promise, that promise is still kept, making the argument for psychological egoism flawed. A second element of the fallacy of psychological egoism is that acting out of one’s own desire does not necessarily equal a behavior in one’s self-interest. In order to decide if