- People who are totally selfish are not normally thought of as especially “ethical” or “virtuous”
- In practice someone who does not care about others at all except as a means to his or her own ends would not be inclined to keep to these rules as much as possible out of respect for others, but regard caring for others as a burden if it is not strictly necessary. Such a person would be looking for opportunities to break such rules if it were perceived to be to one’s own advantage and if it were thought that it were possible to get away with it without being detected or punished.
- Ethical egoism is based on reciprocity, or “I’ll treat you well if you treat me well,” but many selfish people do not care if they abuse others, and also do not care if the ones they abuse don’t like them.
- Egoism especially leaves wide open for abuse the mentally disabled and animals, who cannot agree to any social contract, and so the egoist may have no motive for respecting these beings. That is because these beings cannot offer the egoist the benefit of abiding by laws in return for the egoist being law-abiding towards the mentally disabled.
- There tends to be tension and discord between selfish people who do not agree in their purposes and not caring about others is often a prelude to threatening others.
- Egoism also may apply to one’s own society, because other members of society can reciprocate by respecting oneself, but egoism does not mandate respect for those living in other societies, who may not be able to return one’s acts of charity or punish one for one’s harmful actions.
- Special treatment for ego is sought but no special reason is given, since others may have superior merit and will equally have their own “selves” or egos
- Egoism only upholds the good and protects against the bad of a single being, ego, and so cannot plausibly claim to be best, or the most good and the least bad.
- Egoism seems to confuse the vividness of one’s own feelings as making them more important, whereas empathy reveals that others’ concerns are just as important.
- Granted we are not psychologically compelled to be accountable for the good of others, but we are not compelled to affirm that 2 + 2 = 4 either, but that does not make "5" the right answer. However, if one is open-minded and promotes the better disposition of compassion (better precisely because it is more conducive to good and protection from bad), one will be benevolent to others.
- Helpless minorities such as the Jews in the Nazi Holocaust may also be targeted without conscience if one can get enough for oneself or better, in one’s perceptions, by only keeping around one’s favoured Aryan race, from the point of view of a Nazi.
In these ways peaceful relations may tend to break down for egoists, and philosophical problems emerge. The ideal of non-violence, in particular, can hardly be guaranteed on ethical egoism.
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