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Moral Philosophy

The basic concepts of altruistic and egoistic theories are as different as the individuals who believe in these concepts. Altruism is based on the idea of duty to the group, while egoism is based on the duty to oneself. In relation to many of the current social issues, it is rather hard to define which theory is used best to describe the debatable issues that are currently in our society. However, the basic norm of society does shed light on the subject, and can help society grasp the concepts underlying the issues better. The first topic is abortion.

Is this action a duty for the individual or a duty for the society? In honesty, this act is egoistic in nature. Abortion is the duty to the individual and what makes the individual happy. This happiness falls into line with the Deontological ethic theory which states that action is not as important as the outcome. Another theory giving evidence to the egoistic nature of abortion is Utilitarianism. This theory promotes the individual’s happiness over the individual’s sadness and does not take into account those people surrounding the individual.

Capital punishment is always a touchy subject, but again it is egoistic in nature. Evidence of this is through the social contract theory, based on the concept that individuals will give up a certain amount of authority to a person or group to keep them safe from those who would harm them in a State of Nature (anarchy). Some would even go so far as to say that capital punishment also falls under the heading of Divine Command theory, which would use the ideal of retribution for wrongful acts. Euthanasia is purely egoistic.

The person chooses to end his/her life due to unchangeable, usually terminal, reasons or illnesses. The idea behind euthanasia is to stop the suffering of the person with the affliction and their justification so as not to cause the family more hardship. The justification is only for the calming of the individual and for them to feel similar to a martyr, but in reality it is not even close. War is completely individualistic, but like euthanasia hides behind the facade of duty. People join the ranks of the fighters to save their homeland, or such.

However, not everyone wants to join, because some see the act of war as brutally unnecessary. Either circumstance or decision is egoistic and therefore, not matter what anyone says, is not a duty. Understanding these theories in like of these current social issues, the fact that every decision our society makes is in essence egoistic in nature is proving Hobbes’ right. His view was that no person would help another unless the action of helping also rewarded the individual helping, which means that nothing is done for someone else.

All actions revolve around the individual and the egoism within that person. References Doris, J. & Stich, S. (2008 Fall). Moral Psychology: Empirical Approaches. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Edward N. Zalta (ed. ). Retrieved November 30, 2008 from plato. stanford. edu/archives/fall2008/entries/moral-psych-emp Wall, S. (2008 Fall). Perfectionism in Moral and Political Philosophy. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edward N. Zalta (ed. ). Retrieved November 30, 2008 from plato. stanford. edu/archives/fall2008/entries/perfectionism-moral

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