Law of Ethical Egoism

Definition of Law Of Ethical Eegoism

Ethical egoism is the idea that people should act in ways that are best for themselves. Imagine each person as the captain of their own ship. The captain’s first job is to keep their ship sailing smoothly. Ethical egoism is thinking that the best way for a captain to make sure all ships sail smoothly is for each one to focus on their own ship first. It’s not about being mean or not caring about others, it’s about making sure you’re okay so that you can help others when needed.

To explain it simply, think about the rule of putting on your own oxygen mask in an airplane before helping others. You’re not doing it because you don’t care about the other passengers; instead, you understand that you’ll be much more helpful if you’re okay first. This is just like ethical egoism, where taking care of your own needs first means you’ll be better at taking care of others when the time comes.

Types of Ethical Egoism

While ethical egoism is a broad concept, it can be seen in a few different ways:

  • Individual Ethical Egoism: This type is about believing you should look after your own interests, but it doesn’t say what others should do. People who follow this believe it’s up to everyone to decide for themselves how to act.
  • Personal Ethical Eegoism: Much like individual ethical egoism, this version is centered on the idea that a person should focus on their own interests but it doesn’t require them to tell others to do the same. It’s all about personal choice.
  • Universal Ethical Eegoism: This one is a bit different because it extends the idea to everyone. It says that all people would be better off if they put their own interests first. If every person is taking care of themselves, then the thinking goes that everyone will end up okay.

Examples of Law Of Ethical Egoism

  • Choosing a Career: Let’s say you really love art and you find a job that allows you to paint all day and pays well, even if it means moving to a new city away from your friends. You choose this job because it’s what will make you feel fulfilled and happy in life. This is you putting your interest and happiness first, which is at the heart of ethical egoism.
  • Self-Care: If you decide to exercise daily and eat healthy because it makes you feel strong and improves your chances of a long, happy life, then this is ethical egoism. You’re focusing on taking good care of yourself so you can live your best life.
  • Setting Boundaries: Say you have a spa day planned for some rest and a friend asks for help moving on the same day. You say no to your friend because you need that relaxation time. This is ethical egoism because you’re prioritizing your own well-being over someone else’s needs.

Why is it important?

Ethical egoism is important because it puts a spotlight on the idea of taking care of yourself and being responsible for your own happiness and well-being. When we truly understand what’s best for us, we can make smarter choices. Plus, when we’re happy and our needs are met, we can be much more helpful to others around us.

In the real world, being able to look after our own interests helps us build a better life. For instance, in school, focusing on your own study habits can lead to better grades, which can open up more opportunities in the future. When we apply ethical egoism to our everyday choices, we shape a life that’s rewarding and enriching. In business, this idea encourages people to chase goals that make sense for them, which helps them succeed and contribute to their field in meaningful ways.

Implications and Applications

When we wrap our heads around ethical egoism, it can have a big say in how we steer our lives. The choices we make about our jobs, our relationships, and how we grow as individuals can all be influenced by this idea. By concentrating on what really benefits us, we might find that we lead richer and more satisfying lives.

In the world of work, ethical egoism pushes us to go after projects and ambitions that fit with our own interests and that will help us do well over time. This can mean better businesses and workplaces because everyone is motivated by their own success, which can actually help everyone do better.

Comparison with Related Axioms

Ethical egoism often gets confused with other ideas that look like it but are different. Take altruism, which says we should always think of others first, even when it makes things tough for us. Ethical egoism is the opposite, betting that taking care of ourselves will end up helping everyone in the long run. And then there’s utilitarianism, which tells us to do what makes the most people happy. Ethical egoism is more focused on the individual’s happiness rather than the whole group’s.

Related Topics

There are some ideas that are quite close to ethical egoism that are worth knowing about:

  • Self-Interest Theory: This is the belief that we’re always motivated by personal gain in some way. It’s not so much about what we should do, like ethical egoism, but about why we do things.
  • Rational Egoism: This is the thought that it’s rational to act in our own self-interest. It’s different from ethical egoism because it’s about what’s logical, not necessarily what’s ethical.
  • Objectivism: A philosophy developed by Ayn Rand, it talks about the importance of self-interest and individual rights. It overlaps with ethical egoism, but it’s a full system that covers politics, art, and more.


Ethical egoism stretches way back into history. Ancient thinkers like Epicurus believed that searching for personal happiness in smart ways leads to the best life. Modern philosophers, like Ayn Rand, have talked a lot about why it’s good and right to focus on our own interests.


The debates around ethical egoism can get pretty heated. Some people argue that it’s just a fancy way of saying it’s fine to be selfish and forget about what others need. Critics suggest that if we all just look after ourselves, we could end up with a world where no one helps anyone else and we all just go after what we want. These arguments show up because some see ethical egoism as too distant or unkind, even though its supporters believe that taking care of ourselves is actually the best way to be able to help others well.

In conclusion, the law of ethical egoism suggests that focusing on our own interests first is both moral and practical. It’s not about being self-centered to the point of harming others, but about ensuring personal well-being in order to lead a happy life and contribute positively to society. This concept has been around for a long time and remains a key part of discussions on ethics and morality.