Sample English Paper on Rachels Psychological Egoism

  1. What is Psychological Egoism? Make use of Rachels in your explanation.

Psychological egoism is a theory that advances the idea that “people only act out of their own selfish motives” (Rachels, page 70). All human action comes from self-interest. According to this theory, a person may only do well to others if he/she stands a chance to benefit out of the action. Otherwise, people do not just help others.

  1. What was Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) method for arguing that Psychological Egoism is true? What were his twoexamples?

According to Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), a person should not “do something that others will not do to him or her” (Rachels, page 72). That is, a person’s actions should be motivated by the fact that others will likely return the favor. This means that people only help others out of the desire to gain something in return rather than out of genuine concern for others. Hobbes does not see a situation where a person would act without anticipating a similar return response.

  1. What are the twogeneral arguments that have been advanced in favor of Psychological Egoism?

The first general argument is that people act selfishly because they “act on their strongest desires” (Rachels, page 73). In most cases, people will only act out of personal interest or desires. Such desires account for the self-interest within a person. In normal circumstances, the inability to develop strong desires towards an issue mainly come from lack of expected personal gain. According to psychological egoism, people may help others because of the perception that they will go to heaven if they do it or to earn praise from others. The second argument is that people only want to do things that make them feel good. People cherish the good feeling after doing something. In addition, people may do something to avoid the bad feeling or guilt that comes with failure to do something.

Rachels Chapter 6: Ethical Egoism

  1. What is Ethical Egoism? Cite Rachels. What is the difference between Psychological and Ethical Egoism?

Ethical egoism is a theory, which states that “self-interest is the major drive towards all moral obligations” (Rachels, page 71). This doctrine promotes doing good to others out of exclusive self-interest. A morally good action is good only if it will eventually work towards own advantage. Ethical egoism advances the fact that people should always do what they want but only do things that will be in their best interest in the long run. Psychological egoism seems to describe the human nature. On the other hand, Ethical egoism is a normative theory that shows how people need to take action.

  1. Explain any oneof the three main arguments in favor of Ethical Egoism. 

Ann Rand argues that “Ethical egoism is a common sense morality that works to the advantage of all people” (Rachels, page 74). For instance, it is to our advantage if we follow common sense rules. It is to your advantage not to harm others because no one will harm you. Additionally, it is to your advantage to keep promises because others will offer you the same. Therefore, our morality should come from the expected gain out of the same action in a near future.

  1. Explain any oneof the three main arguments against Ethical Egoism.

The common sense argument helps people avoid harming others in order to stay safe. Such an argument is problematic because the opposite could be true. Someone may be in a situation to gain from harming others. Therefore, wickedness is likely to increase if a person is likely “to gain from committing evil within the society” (Rachels, page 75). One’s interest could lead to committing serious crimes to humanity. Therefore, Ethical egoism seems to be disadvantageous to the society.