Final Thoughts

Some people think that taking ethics seriously is naïve. Many may worry that if we don’t look after our own interests nobody else will. Indeed, we may think that each of us individually is best equipped to make judgements about what will be best for ourselves and resist the idea of offering help or accepting it from anyone else. Some people will defend such views on the basis of claims about the competitive character of human nature, appealing to capitalism or Darwinism (quite mistakenly, we should add), as grounds for thinking that everyone should single-mindedly pursue their own interests and preferences. If we have such an attitude, it is easy to see why we might be predisposed to selfishness. In this final part of the primer, we describe what is often called rational self-interest and explain why it may actually require us to think about and protect the interests of others. We then consider some problematic self-regarding attitudes before surveying some helpful heuristics that should help us avoid cognitive biases.



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Applied Ethics Primer Copyright © 2021 by Letitia Meynell and Clarisse Paron is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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