Open Dialogues Purely Philosophical

Is egoism an inherent characteristic of the human nature?

Throughout my whole life, I have been in and heard of many incidents and situations, which at some point make you think, what an egoist person that was, who did a specific thing, which could be called morally incorrect. And after examination of these specific situations, I always come to the conclusion, that even though this person wasn’t necessarily evil, but rather egoist enough not to see the damage that is being done, or not have the ability to see this.

Something I have read in Kant’s texts is the fact that there is one end that can be presupposed as actual in rational beings, which we can assume everyone pursues, and that is the purpose to be happy(α). Throughout life, we see ourselves in situations in which our happiness is being blocked or limited by external factors out of our control, and sometimes, factors that are well in our control but require the use of brute force (not necessarily physical force, but rather a general confrontation), an issue that can be solved by taking something away from someone else, or harming someone. If everyone inherently pursues happiness, could we say that everyone is inherently egoistic? Even if we talk about different degrees. Surely a very limited amount of people would start a fight in order to get the last box of your favorite cereals in the supermarket, but a much bigger number of people would steal a penny from a sleeping man in a train station if you were stranded by yourself without any tools, and only this could get you home on the last train.

(α) Ethical Egoism Again

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What would you consider as Egoistic? Would you say an egoistic action is tied with taking something away from someone and/or harming someone?

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Would it still be egoistic to damage one person in order to prevent a group of other people from being damaged?

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