Altruism & Egoism

Altruism (You should put others needs first) & Egoism (You should put your own needs first)


  • [ALTRUISM] Theoretically there would be a greater happiness in total since someone would gain some level of satisfaction in making the other happier.
  • [EGOISM] You are theoretically prioritizing your own happiness which means that you will always be happy and live a greater, fuller life


  • [ALTRUISM] People will begin to take advantage of you
  • [ALTRUISM] Is it really possible to only make others happy? Would you be doing it just to make yourself feel good>
  • [ALTRUISM] You would be neglecting your own needs
  • [EGOISM] You would be neglecting the needs of others
  • [EGOISM] You would be isolated and independent which would make the majority unhappy
  • [EGOISM] If everyone acted to maximise their own happiness, then nobody would consequentially be happy as they would be being treated badly by others in order to meet their own needs- using each other as a means to an end


In my opinion, both arguments have flaws which make them impractical. However, I argue that they would work consistently together- If we attempt to increase the happiness of others, we would indirectly be increasing our own also with the knowledge of our kindness. Therefore, there is a middle route whereby both theories can be combined to maximise the happiness of others, as well as ourselves.


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