‘Sure, it seems that people often behave altruistically. But I do not see any
reason why they have to. A person is under no obligation to do anything
other than what is in his own
A standard reply to the ethical egoist:
Ethical egoism cannot be universally adopted (at least this is not what
the egoist wants).
The egoist wants others to be altruists (this would serve his interests
best, after all).
But, in that case, egoism cannot be a moral theory: it is inconsistent
because it cannot be universalized, and theories
have to be universal.
Rachels does not think that the egoists’ position is inconsistent.
But he does think it is mistaken.
What Rachels thinks the egoist is getting wrong:
Morality does not require a justification for avoiding harm beyond
the fact that this hurts others.
The fact that there might not be any further justification than this does
not mean that there is no r