Human Behavior and Self-Interest

Human Behavior and Self-Interest

An analysis of human behavior and self-interest.


All things considered, I agree with the psychological egoists claim that all human behavior is fundamentally self-interested. I agree with this claim because of factors like volunteer work, religion, education, and even illegal acts. Behind all of the actions is some type of motive, and all of these motives are self-interested. The majority of these acts are not necessarily bad, however, it is an observation of human behavior.

First, are basic human acts. These acts are as simple as helping a friend, working, and even the country we live in. This part really depends on from person to person and really depends and their personality but I would say more often than not when someone asks for help the thoughts of the person helping may be “what’s in it for me”. Again, the response does depend on the person as well as the circumstances. This “what’s in it for me” phrase can similarly be applied to the work environment. The actions that an individual takes in the work environment is all self-interested. For example, if you decide to purchase an advertisement or take a certification course you are doing it to benefit yourself. Other alternatives include situations like a colleague asking you to do something, and while it may be morally right to help out the person it is crucial that the outcomes are considered and how they could possibly affect you. To think about how you are going to be impacted is not selfish; it is a human behavior to be concerned with your self-interest. These basic human acts don’t just apply to our daily lives, but we can even see it with our government. For the sake of explanation think of the government as an individual. When it comes to issues like the foreign policy the government thinks of how it will be impacted. Let’s take the Syrian refugee crisis, for example, the government considers the country’s safety, monetary needs, and priority. The government and officials make their decisions based on possible outcomes because they know the safety of the citizens and the country, in general, depend on it.

Second: volunteer work. When people participate in any type of community service this is a self-interested motive. Most people, if asked, would probably say that they do community service because it creates a benefit for others. But in fact, when people do service to do something good they are doing it in the interest of themselves. If you knew that your service can create good then you will probably do that service because you know you’re going to feel good, you benefit from your action. Another angle to this are programs that require community service such as clubs, graduation, college applications, or even a requirement for a court sentence. These are ulterior motives for a person’s actions. The service is not being done under a want to do good but as a requirement to fulfill what is needed. The last angle involves missionary work; a number of people, usually with church organizations, travel to foreign countries, and even some domestic, to do a service. The motive to go includes reason of fun, travel, and knowing that they are making some positive impact. These actions are by no means bad to experience, however, it does prove that human behavior is self-interested.

Third includes illegal actions. No matter how bad these haynes acts are, there is a motive. For this example, let’s look at the John F. Kennedy assassination. Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who shot Kennedy, had one motive, to kill Kennedy. His actions were motivated by self-interest. The shooting committed by Oswald resulted in his own death when he was shot by Jack Rudy. Rudy shot Oswald because he was outraged by the Kennedy assassination. So, Oswald had a self-interested motivation, as well as, Rudy having self-interest motivation to get back at Oswald.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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