Ethical Egoism (CPA Ethics & Governance Module 2)



ethical egoism is a theory that is based on self-interest that is the pursuit of self-interest is considered ethically correct since the theory assumes that everyone acts in their own self-interest before we look at ethical egoism in more detail let's look at the entire concept map of all normative theories so we know exactly where ethical egoism fits in there are two broad categories of normative theories namely teleological and deontological theories ethical egoism is a subset of teleological theory so we know that ethical egoism is a normative theory which means that it is a theory that focuses on how people should or ought to behave we also know that it is a branch of cherry logical theory this means that it focuses on the consequences and outcomes of a decision rather than on intention as stated earlier ethical egoism is a theory that is based on self-interest that is the pursuit of self-interest is considered ethically correct since the theory assumes that everyone acts in their own self-interest it is important to note that ethical egoism is still a normative theory and should not be confused with psychological egoism psychological egoism describes how people actually behave whereas normative theories describes how people should behave so according to ethical egoism it is okay or acceptable to make a decision or choose an action that benefits oneself for example Sam has been saving for a beach holiday prior to Sam finalizing his travel plans his uncle a volunteer at educate our children charity informed him of the organization's desperate need for volunteer to teach English and literacy to poverty-stricken children in Africa the cost of flying out and finding accommodation in the remote town would cost just as much as he's planned holiday further he would have to use up all he's accumulated and you leave Sam is facing an Oh dilemma if we were to use ethical egoism what would Sam's decision be and why in terms of ethical egoism it would be acceptable to pursue one self-interest thus in terms of this theory it would be ethically correct if Sam chose to go on the holiday instead of volunteering to teach the children in Africa from our understanding of what ethical egoism is and its application to Sam's ethical dilemma we know that self-interest is the foundation of this theory however it is important to not confuse self-interest with selfishness the pursuit of self-interest is choosing an option that would result in a decision-maker receiving the net benefits selfishness refers to the lack of concern for the values of others it refers to someone who does not care about others and does not care about fairness for example John has a Lego set his friend Paul does not own a Lego set so based on ethical egoism watch it John do when Paul comes over to play if John was selfish he would not share his Lego set with Paul at all he would not care about Paul's feelings or value his friendship he would also not care about the consequences of not sharing if John has acting in self-interest he will decide to share his Lego set he does not miss out on plain so this is not really going to hurt his self-interest but Paul also gets to play as a result John is likely to receive other benefits as well he will maintain friendship with Paul and John knows that Paul owns a chain set so he knows that when he goes over to play at Paul's house Paul will let him play with the chains therefore we can see how the pursuit of self-interest is not the same as selfishness let's pull down the foundation of self-interest and consider the concept of enlightened self-interest enlightened basically means being aware of an informed are having an all-around insight so if we add this to our current understanding of self-interest it means that we are well aware of and informed about our actions and decisions that would result in present and future self-interest enlightened self-interest might be applicable in John's case and he may decide to share without any prompting however if John is not old enough to understand and acts selfishly then his parents will probably help guide his decisions about sharing because they understand the problems linked to being selfish and the benefits attached to sharing they are the ones who will demonstrate how enlightened self-interest works to recap ethical egoism is a teleological theory in terms of this theory the pursuit of self-interest is ethical but this should not be confused with selfishness

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