In this first unit, we have introduced the broad topic of the Humanities and started defining several important moral concepts. One of these concepts is whether or not truly selfless acts exist. In other words, are all actions performed with a degree of self-interest (or selfishness)? Your textbook examines an example of this on page 333 in the story Hobbes and the Beggar. For this assignment, I would like you to consider the following prompt and respond with your opinion and reasoning: Egoism is a broad ethical doctrine that claims moral decisions are (and, in some cases, should be) made in self-interest. At the opposite end of the spectrum would be Altruism (also sometimes called benevolence), which states that decisions can (and, in some cases should) be completely selfless. Hobbes argues that even apparently altruistic acts can be viewed through egoism (as selfish) in that a person may gain a good feeling or some other benefit by helping others. His opponents would argue that this is a pessimistic or negative world view. What do you think? Do you believe moral decisions/actions can be selfless? Or, are all of our decision made with at least some self-interest in mind? Whatever your opinion, explain your reasoning.
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