Animal Rights Encyclopedia entries
  1. Absolutism
  2. Altruism
  3. Animal Ethics
  4. Animal Rights - see 'Rights'
  5. Animal Rights History
  6. Animal Rights Motto
  7. Animal Rights vs Animal Ethics
  8. Animal Rights vs Animal Welfare
  9. Animal Rights vs Conservation
  10. Anthropocentrism
  11. Anthropocentrism, Enlightened
  12. Anthropomorphism
  13. Aquinas, Thomas
  14. Aristotle

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  1. Bearskin Hats
  2. Beef Cattle Statistics
  3. Bestiality - see 'Zoophilia'
  4. Behaviourism
  5. Bentham, Jeremy
  6. Brain, Milestones of Understanding
  7. Bushmeat

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  1. Cat Traffic Training
  2. Chickens - Broiler Hens
  3. Chickens - Egg-laying Hens
  4. Chickens Statistics
  5. Clever Hans the Counting Horse
  6. Consciousness
  7. Consequence Ethics (Consequentialism)
  8. Consideration, Equal
  9. Contractarianism
  10. Copernicus, Nicolaus
  11. Creature Harmony
  12. Cruelty

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  1. Darwin, Charles
  2. Deep Ecology
  3. Descartes
  4. Dogs - Communication & Control
  5. Duty Ethics (Deontology)

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  1. Emotivism
  2. Environmental Ethics / Environmentalism
  3. Ethical Egoism
  4. Ethical Theories & Animal Rights
  5. Euphemisms
  6. Expanding the Circle
  7. Experimental Animals - see 'Laboratory-Experimental Animals'

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  1. Factory Farming
  2. Fish Statistics
  3. Five Freedoms
  4. Foxhunting with Hounds
  5. Fur Animal Statistics
  6. Fur Brushes & Bows
  7. Fur Farming
  8. Fur Marketing
  9. Fur Morality
  10. Fur Species
  11. Fur Trapping

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  1. Golden Rule
  2. Goldfish Bowls
  3. Great Apes

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  1. Han means He or She
  2. Human Overpopulation
  3. Human Superiority

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  1. Interests
  2. Interests - see Consideration, Equal
  3. Intrinsic Value
  4. Is Ought Fallacy
  5. It - Stop Calling Animals It

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  1. Laboratory-Experimental Animals
  2. Legalism

Home - Animal Rights Encyclopedia
  1. Meat Statistics
  2. Mirror Test of Animal Consciousness
  3. Moral Agents & Patients
  4. Moral Autonomy
  5. Moral Status or Standing
  6. Moral Theory Choice
  7. Moral Values & Judgements
  8. Mutilation of Farm Animals

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  1. Naturalistic Fallacy
  2. Natural Selection
  3. New Welfarism - see 'Welfarism, New'
  4. Number Fallacy

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  1. Painism
  2. Passenger Pigeon
  3. Pigs / Hogs Statistics
  4. Predation

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  1. Reciprocal Morality
  2. Religious Tradition
  3. Rights

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  1. Sheep & Goats Statistics
  2. Soul
  3. Subjectivism
  4. Subject of a Life

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  1. Terrorism
  2. Therianthropy

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  1. Universal Declaration on Animals
  2. Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare
  3. Utilitarianism

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  1. Vegetarianism
  2. Vermin
  3. Virtue Ethics

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  1. Welfarism, New
  2. Wolf Ethics

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  1. Zoophilia
  2. Zoos


Ethical Egoism

The best way for you and everyone to act is to pursue your own self-interests. This is what Ethical Egoism declares. Always do what is in your best interests regardless of the good or bad outcome for others. Perhaps most people are ethical egoists when it comes to animals and animal rights: they eat animals, wear animals and support animal experimentation for their own self-interests.

Ethical egoism is not the same as psychological egoism. Ethical egoism is about how people ought to behave and is a philosophical theory. Psychological egoism is speculation in psychology to explain why people behave as they do.

Nature's loveable ultimate ethical egoist !

As an ethical egoist your only obligation is to benefit yourself and you have no moral responsibility to others. You can treat humans and animals any way that benefits you. Others have rights only in so far that their rights are advantageous to you or do not inconvenience you. You do things for your own pleasure and avoid anything which brings you discomfort or pain, even at the expense of others. You hunt animals because you enjoy the sport; experiment on animals because it advances your career; clear the last remaining animal habitat to grow more crops or to enhance your garden; you are a vegetarian not for the sake of animals but because eating them upsets you.

Compared with other ethical theories it is easier for the ethical egoist to know what is in his own interests, unlike Utilitarianism where you must judge what is good and right for others. Ethical egoism also encourages individual freedom and responsibility for your actions; you decide what to do for yourself and bear the consequences.

Egoistic appeals to self-interest do not always necessarily work against animals in practice. Vegetarian egoism, for example, saves animal lives no matter what its motive. And a desire to avoid food poisoning from salmonella or bovine spongiform encephalitis (BSE) may lead you to boycott factory farmed eggs and meat.

A downside of Ethical Egoism is that it applies only to you, that is to each person as an isolated individual, whereas moral behaviour is about applying your acts for the benefit of others and is universal (that is everyone, everywhere does it all the time). Ethical Egoism does not provide an ethical basis for the helping professions, such as medical, veterinary or welfare work. As such Ethical Egoism is a dead-end philosophy.

Another censure is that while you might privately aspire to Ethical Egoism you would dwell to tell others not to do it. Tell them to be altruists instead. For if they become ethical egoists they will be acting in their own interests and are likely to act against you. But then you will be a hypocrite and morally perverted by telling them this.

Perhaps worst of all, conflicts will frequently arise if everyone acts in their own self-interest and Ethical Egoism does not allow for the resolution of conflicts. No matter how bad the situation, the rule of Ethical Egoism simply tells everyone to keep acting in their own self-interests, making matters worse.



Page revised Nov 2010.
Web site established Nov 2009.