Re: Ethics

Bryan Moss (
Sat, 27 Jun 1998 15:06:01 +0100

Daniel Fabulich wrote:

> Do you disagree with the axiom that if an
> ethical theory is true then it is right for
> everyone? It seems self-evident to me.

No, I agree.

> > If generalisation is detrimental to the
> > egoist, then the egoist should insure that
> > others do the wrong thing. That does not
> > seem logically inconsistent. Wouldn't this
> > make it the most rational choice?
> Not really, because it would be "rational" for
> everyone else to do the same thing, which
> would leave everyone worse off; a theory of
> rationality which demands sub-optimal
> consequences is fundamentally fishy, IMO.

So it is not rational to take advantage of the
irrationality of others?

> When we adopt egoism, we find ourselves in a
> kind of a prisoner's dilemma with the rest of
> the world: while it may seem better for us to
> act for ourselves, it is quite bad for us if
> everyone does.

So the question is, will everyone make the
rational choice? The answer is, no.

> It is simple: if an ethical theory is right,
> then it is right for everyone. Egoism is not
> right for everyone by its own standards;
> therefore, when we presume egoism is right, we
> must conclude that it is wrong.

What if the right theory is not the most rational