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Social Contraction vs. Ethical Egoism - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Social Contraction vs. Ethical Egoism The need to describe or establish ground rules on how people behave or ought to behave led philosophers to theorize immensely. There are many theories that try to assert certain obligatory aspects in regard to morality with little success…
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Social Contraction vs. Ethical Egoism
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Social Contraction vs. Ethical Egoism

This theory also holds that it is alright to be this way; it is rational. However, in the real world, if everybody blindly followed their hearts desires then there would be chaos. To this situation, this theory calls for application of rationality from a different angle. This angle prescribes that people should cooperate with one another and cut down on the purely self serving pursuits. This aspect defines the social contract nature of this theory (Shafer-Landau 188). People will not live life to the fullest, but they will avoid a worse fate of being in constant upheaval with society. What constitutes upheaval? Economists answer this question through the hypothetical prisoner’s dilemma situation. In this situation, two individuals must undertake actions that are not beneficial to the other party. Since it is rational to do the best for ones self, then the individuals both undertake these actions knowing full well that the other party will suffer. In a life time, there are countless situations that mirror the conflicts in this hypothetical situation. Maximizing self interest as it turns out is not a worthwhile approach to life. People while be brutal indulging horrid actions just to stay ahead (Shafer-Landau 192). There will be no trust, hope or peace for those with the slightest urge to be “nice” hence the constant upheaval. ...
These persons can range from parents at home to the government. Form this explanation; it is clear that cooperation needs more than one person. As such, this theory describes morality as a social phenomenon (Shafer-Landau 194). In the same way, this theory justifies the existence of moral laws; it justifies breaking these laws. It provides that, in the event, that cooperation fails then there is no need to uphold the moral laws. On the other hand, the theory justifies punishment of the law breakers. From this theory’s strengths, critiques derive dooming weaknesses. A moral theory has the duty to promote doing the right thing. However, this theory entertains the possibility of having a rational wrong for instance when a contract is void. Also, the approach of using rationality to justify action is lacking. As observed by Shafer-Landau (204) if the consequences of an unjust action are not as far reaching as the benefits, then it is rational to act unjustly. Much as, Hobbes tries to define rationality to co-exist with virtue, this is only possible in a world where justice prevails. In the event that the world is in a “natural state” (Hobbes description of anarchy), then being rational means survival for the fittest. A second theory that tries to define the extents of morality in regard to human behavior is ethical egoism. Ethical egoism describes how humans ought to act. Ethical egoism further asserts that moral duty should rely on doing actions that reflect best self interest. In doing so, one should not avoid actions that help others but is not under any obligation to pursue self interest in regard to the well being of others. Despite this radical stand, ethical egoism clearly states that self interest is not merely pleasure seeking. ... Read More
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