- Term Papers, Book Reports, Research Papers and College Essays

Ethical Egoism

Essay by   •  November 30, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,326 Words (6 Pages)  •  2,199 Views

Essay Preview: Ethical Egoism

Report this essay
Page 1 of 6

When people do things it is usually for their self-interest no matter how you want to put it. In some cases it is not good to act in your own self-interest but in the interest of others. Sometimes people get being selfish, confused with self-interest. This is easily done since they are so similar because they both are dealing with self. They are also different because being selfish ties more into personal egoism. I believe that it is good to act in your own self-interest for your benefit as long as it is not for a bad cause. Hypothetically, if I was walking around school giving people the answers to test's for some extra money this would give me pleasure because I would be getting money out of it, but it is for a bad cause. There are four types of ethical principles that I will be using, which are Rational, individual, personal, and universal ethical egoism (Hinman, page 119). There where two pieces of literature, Flannery O'Connor's short story, "The Displaced Person" which has lots of characters that illustrate the different types of ethical egoism, Alexander Solzhenitsyn's novel One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, which is basically about one character who illustrates ethical egoism, and the movie Gandhi

which to me shows Gandhi

as a rational egoist.

The first type of egoism I am going to use is individual egoism. Individual egoism says everyone ought to act in my self-interest. Now that would be nice if everyone acted in my self-interest, but I know in my right mind that this would never happen, because the world does not revolve around me and you should not depend on everyone acting for your self-interest because this never will happen no matter who you are. Ms. McIntyre was the only character in the "Displaced Person" who related to individual egoism. Ms. McIntyre is an old lady who runs a farm in the South. She is one of those people who wants the world to revolve around her and is only alive to further her self-interest. This theory is the most logical one because Ms. McIntyre really was just worried about herself and didn't really care about the employees that worked for her. She just wanted to make sure that her farm was in tip top shape and did not worry about whether her workers needed anything. When Ms. McIntyre was talking to Mrs. Shortley at one point in the story Ms. McIntyre said, "he saves me money," she was referring to Guizac. The key word in this quote is me. When she said this she was not thinking of anybody but herself and definitely was not worried about how much she was paying her workers. By mentioning this she was also saying that the whole time Mr. Shortley was working with her she was not saving any money. At the end of the story I think she got what she deserved because she saw how it felt to not have anybody working for her. If she would have treated the workers well this probably would not have happened. The two types of theory's I have just gave about these two characters may sound very similar to each other, but there not. Ms. McIntyre and individual egoism are different from Mr. Shortley and personal egoism. Ms. McIntyre thinks everything should be about her and nobody else, while Mr. Shortley just does not think about anybody but himself.

Now there is personal egoism. Personal egoism states that I am going to act in my own self-interest and everything else is irrelevant. Personal egoists really have no interest in telling anyone what to do or how to act at all because they are stuck on themselves. This is basically saying that there selfish and this is the way I am going to act like it or dislike it. The only goal of a personal egoist is to further their self-interest. In the short story "The Displaced Person", there was one particular character that related to Personal ethical egoism. That character was Mr. Shortley. Mr. Shortley is the husband of Mrs. Shortley and a worker on Ms. McIntyre's farm. He does not listen to a word Ms. McIntyre says. She has told him numerous times not to smoke in the barn and he continues to do it. At one point in the story his wife Mrs. Shortley catches him smoking and says to him, "If she seen or heard of you smoking in this barn, she would blow a fuse" and Mr. Shortley replies, "You gonter be the one to tell her?" This quote right here is telling us that he does not care about the consequences of smoking in the barn so he is going to keep on doing it. With this said Mr. Shortley really does not care about what any body tells him. He is going to do what he wants regardless of the



Download as:   txt (7.2 Kb)   pdf (95.2 Kb)   docx (11.3 Kb)  
Continue for 5 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2010, 11). Ethical Egoism. Retrieved 11, 2010, from

"Ethical Egoism" 11 2010. 2010. 11 2010 <>.

"Ethical Egoism.", 11 2010. Web. 11 2010. <>.

"Ethical Egoism." 11, 2010. Accessed 11, 2010.