There Normative Egoism is Rational Egoism, which believes

There are many explanations in philosophy as to why we do things,
and what our motivation is behind each action. (Stanford
Encyclopedia of Philosophy) The simplest explanation is that we do it for ourselves. In philosophy
this is called Egoism and it is the idea that “one’s self is, or should be, the
motivation and the goal of one’s own action.” That being said there are two
main types of Egoism, Descriptive and Normative Egoism. They are both very
similar but still share one common difference.

 

Descriptive Egoism, or Psychological Egoism, believes that “being
egotistic is part of our human nature and therefore describes us.” (Internet
Encyclopedia of Philosophy) The idea consists of the claim that we are all
motivated by our own interests, and that we put ourselves above everything
else, this is the core of everyone’s motivation. (Szalavitz, M.) Essentially it states
that people are selfish and it is part of human nature to be this way. The
opposite of this theory is Psychological altruism, which believes that others
motivate all our actions, (much like utilitarianism). The second type is
Normative Egoism. There is one key difference between the two; Normative
believes that no matter what we should be selfish. That it might not be part of
our nature but we should still try and serve our self-interest before all. On
type of Normative Egoism is Rational Egoism, which believes that promoting ones
interest or self is always in accordance with good reason. So if you’re selfish
for a good reason you’re being rational, if you’re never selfish you are
irrational. So essentially Descriptive believes that serving ourselves is part
of our nature, whereas Normative believes that we should go out of our way to
serve ourselves.

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We studied many different ethical theories and schools of thought
that directly contradict the idea of egoism. Seeing as Descriptive egoism
believes that we are all inherently selfish, its hard not to think how this
contradicts other theories like Utilitarianism or Divine Command Theory.

Utilitarianism is the belief that that our actions should be dictated by trying
to increase the happiness of other people even if that means lowering our
personal happiness. It is easy to see how these two ideas are complete
opposites since one is self-serving and the other is other-serving essentially.

So claiming that one is true automatically discredits the other, and makes it
go against our “given” nature. Divine command Theory believes that all our
actions are morally good and are what God would do. Essentially following the
teaching of the Bible, which teaches us to think about others and be selfless.

Once again disproving or contradicting Egoism. If we are automatically selfish
then we are not like God, which means that Divine Command Theory would not be
possible.

 

            There are several Arguments against egoism
that were brought up by David Hume. He believes that people, philosophers in
specific, are trying to oversimplify things. Giving human’s just one motive
behind their actions, thus accrediting all our actions to being selfish. Along
those lines, he brings up another objection. That there might be other things
that influence us beside self -interest. We think that humans are too simple to
have just one thing, which motivates us, and so does Hume. He believes that we
have other factors that motivate us, love, friendship, and compassion to name a
few. These external factors clearly play a role in taking decisions since we
all have something or someone we care about and we would do something for.

Lastly he compares us to animals or other living creatures. He gives the
example that animals act selflessly sometimes, and if animals can, than we
humans should be capable of it too. This disagrees more with Descriptive Egoism
since, it is more of an instinct thing that he is claiming. Humans are more
complex than animals therefore our motivations and interest should be more
complex as well, so if animals are sometimes selfless by nature, then people
should be selfless too.

 

            We think Hume raises a good point when he says
that we over simplify our motives and beliefs to just one thing, which is why
we feel that the only real form of Egoism, which could be true, is Rational
Egoism. Simply because we think that people are selfish and promote themselves
when it makes the most sense but not always.  We don’t believe that
looking out for ourselves inherently motivates us, but it does play a major
role. Of course we all want to help people and cause less pain, but sometimes
it would be too dangerous to do it. So we don’t take unnecessary risks. We feel
that the idea of Rational Egoism is already ingrained in our culture and laws,
that’s why no one goes to jail if they don’t try to save someone who is dying,
but are praised if they do. We think that the human rationale is a good balance
between a Utilitarian point of view and an Egotistic one.