Psychological egoism is one of the most discussed issues of all time. Philosophers, sociologists, cultural figures, and eminent scholars attempt to reveal the reasons for the egoistic nature of humans, explain its necessity, or in the opposite, its negative influence on society. This essay will examine the rationale under the phenomenon of psychological egoism and provide my opinion that reflects one of many potential approaches to the issue.
The primary source of all human actions is the inner desire to fulfill one or another necessity. The ego is that underlines motives and makes people take efforts or avoid them. According to Irwin, “No man has ever done anything that was done wholly for others and with no personal motivation” (72). It implies that even the most altruistic assistance has egoistic motives. For instance, charity can be considered as a pure intention to help. Although, from a second glance, there are a variety of reasons for people to behave like this. These motives include but are not limited to: a desire for self-assertion, a wish to create a positive impression on others, or a necessity to redeem prior sins.
On the other hand, the ideas of true altruism are often criticized as utopian ones. Irwin claims that “it is not possible to value other people’s interests as much as or more than one’s own” (76). The appropriate instance can be found in daily interactions when people entrusted to the choice are always make the selfish ones. The statement coincides with the first evidence’ vision and implies that it is inherent to people to compare interests and care most for selfish ones.
I tend to believe that psychological egoism is one of the most ancient mechanisms of survival. It guides humans, makes them concern about their interests, and enables them to find benefits even in altruistic actions. The evidence shows that it is not possible to abandon the primary nature, which brings to the conclusion that people are innately and permanently selfish.
Irwin, William. “Psychological egoism and self-interest.” Reason Papers, vol. 39, no. 2, 2017, pp: 69-89.