Posted On July 5, 2020
Severalphilosophers have offered various perspectives concerning the linkbetween self-interest and morality. Indeed, it is quite a trickyquestion confirming whether or not self-interest is entirely achievedby being ethical or that which is not right. Both sides have severeimplications hence the need to examine them carefully to develop moreinsight into how an individual must behave or act. In most instances,conflict typically arises when it is necessary to determine thecourse of action that clashes with the moral aspects. In such cases,long and short-term effects of the act must be critically analyzed.It is always a challenge to make people act in the appropriatemanner. Furthermore, what is considered as a good character is also acontentious issue. Nevertheless, it still makes sense to rely on thefact that avoiding harming others is an essential definition ofproper behavior. For these reasons, one can claim that self-interesttends to motivate appropriate behavior. This statement is whatHobbes, Locke, and Smith base their argument. In other words, anysane individual clearly understands that evil actions are not in hisself-interest simply because the outcome of such behavior is likelyto be negative. This underlying principle what leads us to theproposition that self-interest has a place in morality since moralityis a means to self-interest, and the two are not entirely separateentities as Kierkegaard suggests.
Beginningwith the element of self-interest, it is a common assumption amongpeople that one can do certain things for self-interest whiledisregarding completely what is considered ethical or unethical.However, during their actions, these characters come to understandthat being in agreement with others in matters of behavior is a steptowards reaching their personal goals. As such, despite theirself-interest being independent of the interaction and acceptance ofparticular perspectives, the agreement in itself is just a means thatleads to the self-interest that was present at the beginning. In thiscase, the agreement with others is the foundation of morality.However, in some cases, this assumption might not be right,especially when the self-interest act requires differentiationbetween good and bad. For example, if someone’s self-interest is tohave joy, there is a chance that there are things which can makesomeone cheerful but can cause harm as well. A classic example ispassing assignment quizzes as a self-interest goal. One mightplagiarize internet sources or copy work from a friend and get goodgrades. However, the same person might eventually realize that he didnot learn a lot compared to if he had accomplished the task in theright way.
Assuch, it is evident that true happiness is embedded in self-interest.But then again, the joy can be fake or genuine. There is apossibility that joy is actually felt when one achieves somethingthat has value to their lives. This, therefore, means thatself-interest is directly associated with obtaining valuable aspects.If this claim is accepted, then self-interest cannot be fullycomprehended without the presence of relevant outcomes. Values can bemoral in nature, for instance, achieving good grades in an honestway. This example shows that it is impossible to assume that anindividual’s self-interest can be realized without considering whatis morally right. On the other hand, morality is not based onagreements made due to self-interest. This is because self-interestloses its meaningful specification if it is independent of morality.