Argument for Egoism: How Self-Interest is a Form of Ethical Cooperation (2600 words)

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Question

In what ways is it possible for self-interested individuals to cooperate?
Can altruism be reconciled with self-interest?

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Philosophers who think that helping others is the primary ethical position to take are called altruists. Those who think that one should always act according to one’s self-interest are called egoists. In this paper, the argument to be presented will hold that self-interested individuals can cooperate. Furthermore, altruism cannot be reconciled with self-interest. To achieve this aim, it will be shown that altruism is the wrong approach for discussing ethical cooperation. Working definitions of both ethical perspectives will be discussed. Secondly, counter arguments will be given to show why the arguments that support altruism are wrong. Thirdly, it will be shown that self-interestedness is the better road to ethical action. Additionally, John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham’s contribution to Utilitarian ethics as well as Immanuel Kant’s ethical theory will be incorporated into this discussion. Arguments for Egoism will also be centered on popular thought experiments such as the Trolley Problem and others. In addition, contribution to neuropsychology and how modern scientists understand the brain and its functioning is also an illuminating lens to think about how human beings attempt to cooperate in interpersonal relationships....

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