Philosophy 101/Prof. Sears
Module #6 Ethical Egoism
Under the Three Broad Approaches of ethics, the one that stands out to me the most is Consequentialism. Consequentialism according to this module means that one bases morality on the consequences of their actions. To me this means that if someone were to come across a situation where there morals and ethics came into question from their own conscious they will weigh the benefits and rewards of that decision verses the negative impact it may have on the individuals life. If they determine the negative impact to be minimal then they will proceed to committing the morally unjust act without worrying about the consequences from this point on.
Ethical Egoism is grouped with Consequential ethics because in relation to Consequentialism, Ethical Egoism is the consequences being judged as beneficial or not to the individual being. Ethical Egoism is sometimes referred to as Universal Ethical Egoism. The reason why Consequentialism stands out to me the most is in part due to what Ethical Egoism holds. Ethical Egoism holds that everyone should act in his or her own best self-interest. The difference between Ethical Egoism and Consequentialism is that Consequentialists think of all parties involved even if they only take into consideration how the other individuals who may be impacted and effected in a negative way by their decision into account as little to none sometimes, but the point is they do take others into consideration before they make ethical and moral decisions where an Ethical Egoist on the other hand really is only interested in their own self-interests.
In module number six, in section B of Consequentialism, under section A, The story of May Cornelius’ Guilt Determine Morality, was a very interesting and telling story of how Ethical Egoism really works. I liked the story because I was able to put myself in the shoes of Cornelius’ as he took his journey down these very realistic McDonalds scenarios. The McDonalds scenario is compelling to me because it shows how through Ethical Egoism you can best determine an individual or persons true character and how strong and trustworthy ethically that individual or persons truly are. At first glance Ethical Egoism can come off as an outlaw way of thinking because it is all about the individual. If you get a bad ass individual, that person might not ever have a regretful bone in their body. On the other hand not all human beings are wired that way and show a fair amount of compassion and regret for mistakes they have made that cause other people to suffer. It is because of this aspect that allows the witnessing individuals to get the best and truest observations of an Ethical Egoists morality. In this module they left us with a perfect and fitting rhetorical question on the matter, that question was “Who knows your own interests better than you do?”
In the story of May Cornelius’ Guilt Determine Morality, the scenario was that Cornelius as an Ethical Egoist, enters McDonalds for lunch. Upon ordering his food, Cornelius receives $10 dollars too much change back. The conflict that Cornelius faces is one that I know I have personally found myself in on more than one occasion, but I am not the one on trial here! The conflict that Cornelius faces is whether or not he should keep the $10 dollars that he just unjustly received from an unknowingly cashier at McDonalds or to simply return that same ten dollar bill and save that cashier he does not know from a hole in the wall from their end of the shift close out were the cashier will find out that their cashiers drawer comes up short $10 dollars. If Cornelius is a person who would likely feel guilty about keeping the $10 dollars because he feels a certain type of way about not knowing the outcome of the cashier involved then obviously Cornelius’s best self-interest would be to return the money and eliminate any negative possibilities for the cashier, but if Cornelius does not care about the effects and consequences of his actions due to the simple fact that him taking the $10 dollars does not have any effects on his universe other than he just became $10 dollars richer.