Do we have moral obligations to others that are not grounded in our own self-interest?

Write an essay in response to TWO questions. Your total essay should be around 5-6 pages (if
you go over, then that’s no problem) in answering two total questions. Your paper should be in
typical academic format (12 pt. font, Times New Roman, etc.). Most prompts require you to
restate someone’s argument and argue for your own position on some issue. MAKE SURE TO
ARGUE FOR YOUR POSITION!!! I neither expect nor require full-proof, knock-down
arguments here, but I do expect and require for you to give the best argument you can. IF YOU
Let me offer you a bit of a warning. A lot of students want to argue for/against some moral
theory because it has good/bad implications for our lives. That is, some of you may argue for X
(moral theory) because X has really good or beneficial consequences for us. The problem with
this kind of argument is that it shows the wrong thing. I’m not asking below if any ethical theory
or issue is beneficial or has good practical results—I’m asking of the theory or issues is true or
correct. Be careful not to confuse reasons to think X is a good think for reasons to think X is a
true or correct thing.
1)Do you think that there are moral facts or truths independent of human
thought/culture/belief? That is, are there truths about ethics or morality independently of our
thought about it? Basically, do you think ethical relativism, objectivism, or nihilism is true?
What are the best arguments from the readings we have discussed for and against the view
that there are (objective) moral facts? Basically, I want you to examine the arguments on
both sides and determine which theory you think is correct and argue for your position.
Make sure that you are explicit, clear, and not vague on any key terms in your paper (like
objectivism, relativism, and the like) and that you give me reasons that justify whatever
position you take. (Be careful, remember that moral relativism is NOT the claim that moral
beliefs or views differ. That is obvious and we can take it for granted. So, part of this essay
requires that you get clear on what relativism does say about moral beliefs and their relation
to moral facts, truths, etc. If that’s unclear, it’s easy for the rest of the paper to slide away
from you. spend time and thought on this question: it’s important for the rest.)
2. Do we have moral obligations to others that are not grounded in our own self-interest? That
is, is morality fundamentally egoistic or non-egoistic? There can be egoistic motives to help
others; for instance, if you help someone else so that that person will give you something in
return. And there can be non-egoistic motives for your own self-interest; for instance, we
might have a duty to keep ourselves alive in order to help others. So, the question is NOT
whether you should help others, but instead it is about the basics of morality. Is morality
based on egoistic principles or non-egoistic ones? Be clear and precise about what exactly
egoism is (as a moral theory) and what it implies for our moral lives. Then, of course, argue
for your view on the issue. Evaluate the readings we have discussed for and against ethical
egoism. (Don’t confuse whether we DO act self-interestedly with whether we SHOULD act
self-interestedly. Even if we are egoists, that doesn’t mean that we should be. If you think we
are egoists, then you still need to argue that this leads to the moral claim that we SHOULD

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