Contemporary Moral Problems Egoism And Moral Skepticism Philosophy
Quote: "Why bless my soul Ed? That was the very essence of selfishness. I should have had no peace of mind all day had I gone on and left that suffering old sow worrying over those pigs. I did it to get peace of mind, dont you see?" - Abraham Lincoln
What I expect to learn?;
The concept of egoism, get to the core of it.
"As said no man is perfect and a human is easily tempted so the thought that he actually took the ring that would make him invisible means that he has plans to use it for something may be he thought of using it for something good but eventually he will be corrupted because as said in the book that no human has such a strong will to control such temptations."
"Since humans have free will most of the time people would be doing something on their own free will"
(all that are quoted and italicized above are references, you could find them in this link: http://tklc.wordpress.com/2009/03/02/contemporary-moral-problems-egoism-and-moral-skepticism-by-james-rachels/)
It is true that humans, to some extent are tempted by things (depending on how much they are hooked to it, they are eager to get it or even just because of arousal that they would not think so much of the consequences) that will allow them to take advantage for their lives and because it is an opportunity. This is considered as a disease and I believe that it is viral. If you observe, once a person is being tempted of power for example, he has the control to take over other humans whom he know he could take advantage of, in which they could use their abilities to take advantage of others which he knows is a threat. It's obvious in our society and it could dissipate as long as the 'higher body' is tempted to do what is not good for others.
1. Explain the legend of Gyges. What questions about morality are raised by the story?
The legend of Gyges tells the story of a men allowed to gain power of invisibility by acquiring the ring but he is not forced to do it or whatsoever, but he did it by himself, so that he could get wealth and control. Morality is knowledge and it is a right for everyone to know about it. It would be the problem of the one who is being tempted, when he accepts it must know the consequences that will come.
2. Distinguish between psychological and ethical egoism.
Psychological egoism is the view that humans are always motivated by self-interest, even in what seem to be acts of altruism. It claims that, when people choose to help others, they do so ultimately because of the personal benefits that they themselves expect to obtain, directly or indirectly, from doing so. It is a non-normative view, since it only makes claims about how things are, not how they ought to be. It is, however, related to several other normative forms of egoism, such as ethical egoism and rational egoism.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_egoism)
This type of egoism is normal, and is taught in religion and it is sickening. That the belief of helping others would mean there is something in return be it directly or not. But it is in nature that people usually expect something in return because they are selfish.
Ethical egoism (also called simply egoism) is the normative ethical position that moral agents ought to do what is in their own self-interest.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethical_egoism)
This type of egoism is is the ideal egoism (I believe) that people should have. They help others without expecting something in return, they just help people because they think they should help.
3. Rachels discusses two arguments for psychological egoism. What are these arguments, and how does he reply to them?
"Selfishness implies the intention to serve oneself, hence knowledge of what one stands to gain from a particular behavior". - Frans de Waal
In the first argument of Rachels regarding psychological egoism, negated the saying that all actions done are for serving oneself.
The second argument tells us that a person for example experiences fulfillment due to an unselfish action he/she made.
4. What three commonplace confusions does Rachels detect in the thesis of psychological egoism?
Being selfish for own interests
A thought that every action is for own interests
Concern for others's compatibility with any other 'concern for others' is true
5. State the argument for saying that ethical egoism is inconsistent. Why doesn't Rachels accept this argument?
It would be wishful thinking if all people would become altruistic, if it did happen would have been an ideal world for everyone (because even god/s didn't planned or
wanted that to happen.)
6. According to Rachels, why shouldn't we hurt others, and why should we help others? How can the egoist reply?
Because hurting others gives unsatisfaction, which means you're not fulfilled. You can become fulfilled if you can help others.
1. Has Rachels answered the question raised by Glaucon, namely, "Why be moral?" If so, what exactly is his answer?
Rachels did answer this question that we become moral because we think about others.
2. Are genuine egoists rare, as Rachels claims? Is it a fact that most people care about others, even people they don't know?
Depends, there is a scientific explanation for that which defines why do we think others even if we don't know them. Here is the 'monkeysphere':
Dunbar's number is a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person. Proponents assert that numbers larger than this generally require more restrictive rules, laws, and enforced norms to maintain a stable, cohesive group. No precise value has been proposed for Dunbar's number. It has been proposed to lie between 100 and 230, with a commonly used value of 150. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar's_number)
3. Suppose we deï¬ne ethical altruism as the view that one should always act for the beneï¬t of others and never in one's own self-interest. Is such a view immoral or not?
Somehow it seems so, since I believe people should not always act for the benefit of others. If we would always act for the benefit of others, these ones that are being helped may feel that they are weak thus making them more dependent to helpers (but that doesn't explain to why we must not always act for the benefit of others, some may realize that they can help also).
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