Am I my Brother's Keeper?
Understand our drive toward selfishness and the Ethical Egoist framework
Appreciate some of the contemporary moral issues of wealth inequality
Appreciate how wealth inequality affects democracy and political choice
Understand the teleological and deontological criticisms of Ethical Egoism
Understand Altruism and some of the ethical questions it raises
Appreciate how some philosophers are trying to be more effective altruists
I know right from wrong by how the results will serve me.
• Moral philosophy sometimes turns to the self (Lt. ego)
• Psychological Egoism: it is human nature to be selfish (cf. Hobbes)
• Hobbes: We only help others to trick ourselves into believing we are "good"
• Ethical Egoism: it's not only our nature, but our RIGHT to be selfish!
• Ethical Egoists claim selflessness is actually harmful to society
• Ethical Egoism isn’t uninhibited pursuit of our desires, long term goals critical
• You can help others, but helping yourself must be the primary goal
• Egoists: The "fiction of giving" allows us to feel good about ourselves
The Classic Egoist Position
• Greed is Good. Pure selflessness is either misguided or .
• Giving to others intrudes on their privacy and objectifies people
• Giving to others denies the value of the individual
• Ayn Rand claims the is
destructive to Western Civilization. ()
• The Ethical Egoist fundamentally claims that if we each compete at our best, then we are good and rightfully earn whatever we have.
"Every act you have ever performed since the day you were born was performed because you wanted something."
- Dale Carnegie (1936) How to Win Friends and Influence People