9 Questions

What is ethical egoism?

Who introduced ethical egoism?

What are the three categories of ethical egoism?

Which of the following is NOT a form of consequentialism?

What is the potential problem with extreme ethical egoism?

Who argued that conflicts between individuals pursuing their own ends can be resolved if they voluntarily forgo some of their aims?

What did Ayn Rand argue about ethical egoism?

What did Friedrich Nietzsche suggest about egoistic behavior?

What did philosopher David L. Norton identify himself as?


Ethical egoism is the normative position that moral agents ought to act in their own self-interest, but it does not require moral agents to harm the interests and well-being of others. It contrasts with ethical altruism, which holds that moral agents have an obligation to help others. Egoism, utilitarianism and altruism are all forms of consequentialism, but egoism and altruism contrast with utilitarianism. Ethical egoism was introduced by the philosopher Henry Sidgwick in his book The Methods of Ethics, written in 1874. Ethical egoism can be broadly divided into three categories: individual, personal, and universal. It has been argued that extreme ethical egoism is self-defeating, as it would consume as much of the resource as one could, making the overall situation worse for everybody. Philosophers, such as Thomas Hobbes and David Gauthier, have argued that the conflicts which arise when people each pursue their own ends can be resolved for the best of each individual only if they all voluntarily forgo some of their aims. Ayn Rand argued that there is a positive harmony of interests among free, rational humans, such that no moral agent can rationally coerce another person consistently with their own long-term self-interest. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche suggested that egoistic or "life-affirming" behavior stimulates jealousy or "ressentiment" in others, and that this is the psychological motive for the altruism in Christianity. Philosopher David L. Norton identified himself as an "ethical individualist", and, like Rand, saw a harmony between an individual's fidelity to their own self-actualization and the achievement of society's well-being.


Test your understanding of ethical philosophy with our quiz on ethical egoism! Explore the concepts of self-interest, altruism, and consequentialism, and learn about the three categories of ethical egoism. Discover the arguments for and against extreme ethical egoism, including the ideas of philosophers like Ayn Rand and Friedrich Nietzsche. Challenge yourself and see how much you know about this fascinating topic!

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