Since time immemorial, conflicts occur when determining if an action is ethically right or
not, making ethics a matter of concern globally. As years unfolded, people devised two faint
ways to determine ethical judgments, clinging to understanding and clinging towards emotions.
However, the methods failed to give a clear answer, thus triggering great philosophers such as
Immanuel Kant to further breakdown ethics justification based on categorical imperative and
universal maxim law. Rebuking Ethical egoism that approves something to be ethically right
based on individual interest being a priority over considering other people.
Argument for Ethical Egoism.
According to Waller, Ethical egoism tries to bring a sense of self-worth. Contrary to
Altruism beliefs, the theory argues that considering others first diminishes one's self-value over
time. From a critical point of view, the argument is correct since some people tend to forget
about themselves to ensure those surrounding them have the best for the sake of peaceful
coexistence. In turn, years later, those around them tend to have achieved more than those who
sacrificed for their well-being. Consequently, the victim makes little progress that makes them
feel less valuable than those who made a fortune out of their sacrifice.
Argument against Ethical egoism.
One of the terms used to restore self-value is individual ethical egoism, which its primary
goal is to use others to achieve goals while others achieve nothing (Waller). As per the golden
rule of morals, it is wrong to do unto others what you would dislike done to you. However
desperate one needs something; it would only be right to achieve the set goals using others if
they equally gain something from the process. Otherwise, the motive will be termed as selfish,
which makes ethical egoism a wrong concept of deciding what is right or wrong Since it supports
selfishness to be ethical for self-improvement.
Ethical egoism also uses the concept of survival for the fittest, which compares human
life to that of plants and animals, where the fittest determines what is right. Where else it is
incomparable since human life is more valuable. According to Alan’s notes on Kant, there is no
connection between the fittest and deeds being right. As much as imperialism was an act done by
superior countries on weaker ones, it never justified imperialism to be a good thing. As much as
it favored Europeans for being superior, it also caused pain to Africans from a logical
perspective. Hence, disregarding ethical egoism viability in determining an action to be right or
Ethical egoism also does not preserve the universal maxim law, which supports an act to
be right if it is acceptable by everyone with no limitation to time and geographical location. It
was right to look after the sick in the past, and so is it in the current world, and so will it remain
in the future, be it in any country of the world. Eventually, nullifying ethical egoism to be a
logical way of determining right and wrong.
As much as feelings and consequences can trigger one's judgment on whether something
is right or not, the choice should always be acceptable to all and remain truthful based on logical
terms. Therefore, posing several shortcomings to ethical egoism, making it an unsuitable method
of determining ethics.
Waller, B. N. Consider ethics: Theory, readings, and contemporary issues. Prentice Hall, 2010.