Morality cannot be ultimately based on self-interest Kurt Baier maintains that morality is ultimately based on self-interest. We should be moral because being moral is following rules designed to over-rule self-interest whenever it is in the interest of everyone alike that everyone should set aside his interest. Kurt Baier, an avowed atheist, maintains that we do not need religious belief to safeguard morality. His argument is that morality is simply based on self-interest without reference to religious values.
Does morality override self-interest? When there is conflict between the overall verdict of morality regarding what we ought to do and the overall verdict of self-interest regarding what we ought to do in our self-interest, which verdict is normatively more important?
If morality is overriding, its verdicts must be normatively most important from a definitive standpoint, which could not be the standpoint of morality itself. I argue that there is no such definitive standpoint.
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Hence, neither morality nor self-interest is overriding. In situations where morality and self-interest conflict, there is no truth regarding what we ought simpliciter to do.
No man would keep his hands off what was not his own when he could safely take what he liked out of the market, or go into houses and lie with anyone at his pleasure, or kill or release from prison whom he would, and in all respects be like a god among men. Then the actions of the just would be as the actions of the unjust; they would both come at last to the same point.
And this we may truly affirm to be a great proof that a man is just, not willingly or because he thinks that justice is any good to him individually, but of necessity, for wherever anyone thinks that he can safely be unjust, there he is unjust.
For all men believe in their hearts that injustice is far more profitable to the individual than justice, and he who argues as I have been supposing, will say that they are right.
If you could imagine anyone obtaining this power of becoming invisible, and never doing any wrong or touching what was another's, he would be thought by the lookers-on to be a most wretched idiot, although they would praise him to one another's faces, and keep up appearances with one another from a fear that they too might suffer injustice.Rand's view is that self-interest is the standard of morality and selflessness is the deepest immorality.
That states that one's own life and happiness are one's highest values, and that one does not exist as a servant or slave to the interests of others.
The moral point of view goes beyond self-interest to a standpoint that takes everyone's interests into account. Ethics, then, assumes that self interest is not the basis for all human behavior, although some philosophers, e.g., Hobbes, have tried to base ethics on self-interest.
self-interest is independent of this agreement, and the agreement is just a means to the end of self-interest which they already had. This agreement is the basis of morality.
The relationship between morality and self-interest is a perennial one in philosophy, at the center of moral theory.
It goes back to Plato's Republic, which debated whether living morally was . If morality is overriding, its verdicts must be normatively most important from a definitive standpoint, which could not be the standpoint of morality itself. I argue that there is no such definitive standpoint.
Hence, neither morality nor self-interest is overriding. think that moral obligations normatively override self-interest, as Sarah Stroud does (), or that strong reasons of self-interest can override moral reasons, a view endorsed by Mi- chael Slote ( ) and Philippa Foot ( ).