Compare and Contrast the Ethical Egoism and Utilitarianism Frameworks

Abstract

Ethical egoism and utilitarianism frameworks are fundamentally different.  Ethical egoism tends to focus on a man`s personal desire fulfillment, whereas utilitarianism seeks ways to achieve mass contentment in order to accomplish its own.  Legal ethics provide good example of similarity between ethical egoism and utilitarianism: ethical egoism can be considered as utilitarianism as long as it allows for private interests of all parties. However, ethical egoism is an agent-focused form of consequentialism, whereas utilitarianism is agent-neutral. Both philosophical theories are noteworthy, as they explore human conscious and unconscious motivation, which determines their behavior. 

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Compare and Contrast the Ethical Egoism and Utilitarianism Frameworks

According to the theory of ethical egoism, an individual has a predominant duty in relation to himself, consequently, only his own interests matter. This ethical theory is contrary to that of utilitarianism, which states that the greatest number of people should strive for greater happiness possible, and that contributing to the public good we, thus, redound to our own happiness (Regis, 1980).

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Both ethical egoism and utilitarianism are based on the assumption that something is good if it causes pleasure, and bad if it causes suffering, thereafter, they are both hedonistic theories. In compliance with legal ethics, for example, ethical egoism embodies private interest of specific individuals, companies, communities, etc.; utilitarianism also includes the aggregate of all private interests of the stakeholders.  Ethical egoism, which allows for private interests of all parties, is utilitarianism.

Regardless the fact, that the production of a certain good underlies ethical egoism as well as utilitarianism, the latter states that the good which should be augmented concerns universal weal (of all living creatures), and the first aims at the same good, ultimately for self-accomplishment (Sidgwick, 1907). Ethical egoism is an agent-focused (self-concerned) form of consequentialism, whereas utilitarianism is agent-neutral (it does not treat the subject`s interests more than public ones).

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Basically, ethical egoism and utilitarianism have many differences, such as notion of good, and objects, to which this goodness is referred. Still, they are frameworks which help to classify people through deep analysis of motivational force, which drives the adherents of one or another philosophical theory and determines their behavior.

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