The Instigator
The_Fox
Pro (for)
Tied
3 Points
The Contender
ConservativePolitico
Con (against)
Tied
3 Points

Egoism is better then Utilitarianism

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/22/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,068 times Debate No: 23074
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)

 

The_Fox

Pro

First round is for acceptance only

Second two rounds for arguing

I look forward to it... Good luck to whoever accepts
ConservativePolitico

Con

I accept.

Egoism - is the normative ethical position that moral agents ought to do what is in their own self-interest.

Utilitarianism - is an ethical theory holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes the overall "happiness".
Debate Round No. 1
The_Fox

Pro

Thank you for accepting the debate ConservativePolitico.

I will be arguing that egoism is better then utilitarianism for a few basic reasons

1) As it says in Philosophy.lander.edu on the ethics page discussing egoism, Egoism is a natural habit that you should do, though not all people are required to, you should
http://philosophy.lander.edu...

2) Air plane oxygen mask, Assist yourself before the person next to you. the reason it says this is because you must have your own self safe before you can assist others, or you can end up hurting yourself and the other person

3) Just because egoism is better, that doesn't mean you cant do the utilitarian thing after. once your self-interest is met you can help others with out hurting your self. but egoism is better simply because its the first step and without it you cant properly follow the utilitarianism value

4) Egoism builds self-esteem and self-worth just as much as, if not more then, utilitarianism because its less stress to only worry about your self and not everyone else around you too.

I now hand over the round to the Con. Thank you again for accepting as this is my first debate and I was worried I had chosen a bad topic.
ConservativePolitico

Con

Thank you for an interseting debate. Welcome to DDO.

"Egoism is better then Utilitarianism"

Pro has the burden of proof in this debate and therefore must respond to the resolution by proving that egoism is better than utilitarianism.

better - of superior quality or excellence

Negations

N1) Just because something is a natural habit does not make it good or better than something else of unnatural habit. For example, following your logic, it would be a natural instinct or habit to try and reproduce with the most desirable female availible to you even if that female isn't your wife. Natural habit and egoism say that having sex with the most desirable female is both a natural instinct and self pleasuring but in doing so you will damage a multitude of relationships. Just because something is "natural" or a "habit" does not make it better than something that is not natural.

N2) The air plane oxygen mask example is a poor one because the airlines were not thinking of utilitarianism or egoism but in fact are acting in a manner that would best avoid a lawsuit in case someone failed to put their mask on first. It does not say that you should put your mask on and your mask only but to help others after your mask is on. Helping others would fall under utilitarianism while egoism would say to put your mask on and then stop there because there is no self interest in helping the child next to you. So, even in this situation, egoism would lead to less help in an emergency situation while utilitarianism would go for the largest amount of net happiness which in a case like this would lead to a better societal result than egoism.

N3) While yes, you can technically help others after you have helped yourself, traditional egoism puts the individual person at the center of ALL actions and a person truly practicing egoism and not a version of self tinged altruism (which is what you described) would not help anyone else at all. Helping someone else in a bad situation, even if your needs have been met, is not egoism but rather altruism. Egoism focuses soley on the individual and no one else.

N4) If we are looking at which of these two philosophies are "better" then the self-esteem of one person does not help the case of egoism over utilitarianism. I will go more into this in my next point and my main argument...

Net Happiness

To gauge whether one school of thought is "better" than the other we must then find a common denominator between the two to make an actual comparison with. We cannot determine which is "better" without creating a basis for comparison. We cannot simply say one is better than the other without some sort of grounds for doing so or the points made will be useless.

Since egoism focuses on self needs and self interests we can safely say that fulfilling these needs and interests will cause the person fulfilling them to be happy. The reason for acting on a want or need is to alleviate negative feelings in order to creat positive ones which we will call happiness. It is safe to say the goal of egoism is to make the one practicing it happy.

This works because utilitarianism is also about generating happiness however utilitarianism does so in a way that creates the most amount of happiness for a specific group of people without regard to the individuals themselves.

Therefore, if we take it in terms of net happiness utilitarianism by nature and in practice will create more net happiness than egoism.

For example:

Take the situation I presented earlier. You [a man with a wife and kids] have the chance to have sex with an extremely attractive female. This female wants to engage in illicit activites with you creating hightened experiences of pleasure, happiness, daring, self-esteem and well ego. In terms of egoism, this is a huge gain for the individual who, in the moment, will take in massive amounts of personal positive emotions for this action.

If the man is practicing egoism he will sleep with the woman.

In doing so the man has now made his wife extremely unhappy, his friends think a little less of him and his kids are confused. If the man had been practicing utilitarianism he would have refrained from having sex with the woman in order to increase the net happiness of his friends and family while generating disappointment on his part.

If we want to compare which is "better", using happiness as a medium we can see that utilitarianism generates more happiness and is therefore "better" than egoism.

Utilitarianism will always generate more happiness because that is the nature of the idea - to generate the maximum amount of happiness through actions.

Therefore, egoism is not better than utilitarianism; ever.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
The_Fox

Pro

Thank you for accepting this debate and I really look forward to seeing how it turns out. Good luck!

Rebuttals:

R1) Doing something of habit would be easier then something not of habit there for making it better because it can be done easier and simpler.

R1 point 2) If the man were truly fallowing egoism he would realize that the brief satisfaction leads to major discomfort while the brief want will lead to years of happiness with his family and not sleep with the woman because it wouldn't give the man as much happiness in the long run.

R2)if the person were related to you (as is most likely the case) then it would be to your advantage to help them because of your love for them, if not related to you (also a very likely case) then helping them is still to your advantage because you would be avoiding any chance of guilt. therefore, the egotistical man can still help others after himself.

R3) I see your point of altruism.
Altruism-The belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.
With altruism I have to point out some things I said in R2 about how I could be in your own self interest and happiness to help someone else.

R4) I high self esteem will make it easier to reach happiness overall and there for does help the case of egoism over utilitarianism.

Net Happiness observations:

I know go on record saying I agree that Happiness should be the way to pick which is better, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Agreed that egoism focuses on making ones self happy.

Utilitarianism is meant to bring the most happiness for a group of people but in many cases this fails to happen as in the case when it comes to picking between saving a hundred people you don't know and 50 of your closest friends, if people truly followed utilitarianism they would save the hundred, but because of human emotion and egoism most chose the 50 friends.

Concerning you example I refer back to my R1 point 2

Utilitarianism though is meant to make happiness fails more often then egoism and therefore, because egoism fails left often and provides happiness for you and those closest to you (because if those closest to you are sad you are sad, so you would make them happy to help you self) it is better.

Utilitarianism once again doesn't always generate more happiness.

Conclusion:

Therefore, Egoism is better than Utilitarianism.

Thank you.
ConservativePolitico

Con

Negations:

N1) Simple and easy do not equal better. It is easy to hate someone for a past wrong and it is our nature and habit to do so. It is harder to forgive which is the decent thing to do. In fact, many good things are harder to do. Ever heard the phrase "Sometimes its hard to do the right thing"?

2. This is incorrect. Egoism is the complete focus on oneself. Your family would never even cross your mind if practicing true egoism in the situation presented. Egoism focuses on the individual in the here and now. Thinking ahead about your family and future total happiness would be a form of utilitarianism which you have then admitted is better.

N2) This is not the case. True egoism focuses on the individual only. Your family would again not be a factor in your actions. Helping others after yourself no longer falls within the realm of egoism and you have moved into something else. Once you start helping your family you are no longer practicing egoism and therefore it cannot be used in this debate.

N3) Once you stop helping yourself and start helping someone else you've started practicing altruism and not egoism.

Net Happiness

"Utilitarianism is meant to bring the most happiness for a group of people but in many cases this fails to happen as in the case when it comes to picking between saving a hundred people you don't know and 50 of your closest friends, if people truly followed utilitarianism they would save the hundred, but because of human emotion and egoism most chose the 50 friends."

100>50

50 more people benefit from saving the strangers than if you help your 50 friends. You are confused because utilitarianism focuses on the net happiness overall and not on the individual. Your individual happiness does not factor into the net happiness level. In this scenario utilitarianism is better because it saves twice as many people and therefore generates twice as much happiness making it better.

Since utilitarianism generates more net happiness than egoism it is the better of the two. Egoism cannot compete.

Thank you.

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by InVinoVeritas 5 years ago
InVinoVeritas
"Your family would never even cross your mind if practicing true egoism in the situation presented."

Pro said that it would be in an Egoist's favor to be surrounded by his family if he/she feels that being in such a situation would be of benefit to him/her. This has nothing to do with actually benefiting the family or anything altruistic...
Posted by TheDiabolicDebater 5 years ago
TheDiabolicDebater
What.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by InVinoVeritas 5 years ago
InVinoVeritas
The_FoxConservativePoliticoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Point 1: There is a distinction between the definitions of a "complete focus on oneself" and "do[ing] what is in [one's] own self-interest." Con shifts the definition of Egoism in his favor. For this, among other issues with Con's argument, Pro gets "more convincing argument" points. Point 2 (a broader issue): To be honest, Egoism and Utilitarianism can coexist, since there is nothing inherently contradictory about them. For this reason, this debate is confusing to me.
Vote Placed by phantom 5 years ago
phantom
The_FoxConservativePoliticoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con was more logical and concice than pro, and showed how caring about the net hapiness of everyone is superior and more practical than that of one focusing solely on himself. He also refuted pros contention that we should act based on our natural instincts, and it's not really an argument that ulitarianism sometimes fails.
Vote Placed by Stephen_Hawkins 5 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
The_FoxConservativePoliticoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Both parties talked past each other. Applying a little deconstructionism, CON valued utilitarianism for it giving the most happiness to the greatest number, while Fox valued egoism for it giving you yourself the greatest happiness. Neither side really justified either of these premises successfully.