Ethical Egoism vs. Utilitarianism

To effectively compare and contrast the above two ethical theories – Ethical Egoism and Utilitarianism, I use an illustrative scenario below. Joseph is an apartment owner who has plans to make more money this year so that he can buy his wife a beach house for Christmas. In the pursuit of realizing the above dream, he decides to raise the apartments’ rent. The current apartment holders are already economically strained at the current rent amount, so it is true that the new rent will be overly hard for them to pull through. Are the actions of Joseph immoral or moral?

The essence of morality is to establish the moral rules upon which the actions and activities of the human being find their basis. As a result, ethical morals such as ethical egoism and utilitarianism feature as the respective instruments instructing the moral rules (Parsons 44). Ethical egoism and utilitarianism are two of the very well-known ethical theories used to provide guideline son morality.

As a normative consequentiality theory, Ethical Egoism makes an implication that every action is right if its consequences of are beneficial to the action doer (Hinman, 2013). According to the provisions of the above theory, it is ethical for a person to pursue their interest even if it finds conflict with the interests of other people. From the illustration above, the action of Joseph to increase the rent for the apartment is ethically correct. According to the provisions of the Ethical Egoism theory, he has the right to follow his dream of buying his wife a beach house at without considering the interest of the apartment tenants who will have to pay more for his interests to materialize.

On the other hand, utilitarianism that is a normative theory as well, insists that the consequences of every action or activity determines how right or wrong the action is. Utilitarianism is a normative theory that closely relates to the philosophical teachings of hedonism which teaches that actions that result in pleasure at all ends are the only good actions (Parsons 44). In contemporary ethics, the utilitarianism theory finds support from many critiques because it supports the provision and embracing of happiness as the ultimate objective of morality in human nature. Ultimate happiness is determined by weighing and comparing the cumulative number of pain versus the number of happiness or pleasure resulting from a given action. With respect to the above provisions, the actions of Joseph are unethical because there is a lot of pain resulting from the rent increment. As a result of the increment, only Joseph is happy to buy his wife a beach house while all the apartment tenants suffer to deal with the rent increment.

With respect to the provisions of the above two theories, it is relatively hard to apply them wholesomely as the morality’s touchstones. To start with, in the uploading of morality, it is substantially clear that ethical egoism contradicts itself. By giving the individuals, the chance to favor all their personal interests without giving a thought to the interest of the majority is critically subject to moral criticism. The interest of Ethical Egoism conflicts with the basic provisions of moral rules (Hinman 107). As a result, embracing Ethical Egoism is in a way a gateway to promoting cheating, theft and oppression as illustrated in the case of Joseph. However, from all angles, the provisions of the utilitarianism theory are plainly in support of the goodness of the actions. In other scenarios, the extent of the goodness as well as the future outcomes of such goodness may be unclear. However, for the scenario under discussion in the case of Joseph, the normative provisions of utilitarianism outweigh those of ethical egoism by way too far.

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