Psychological Egoism involves being entirely driven by self-interest, and is characterized by purely selfish motives. It is believed that such a mind will always bring happiness. Whereas, Ethical Egoism is the view that people do take into account interests, that are not their own. Glaucon has created a myth titled “The Ring of Gyges” which discusses the entire concept of egoism.
This myth is the story of a man named Gyges, who while travelling he comes across a chasm, with something sparkling deep inside. Attracted by the shine he goes into the depth and enters a tomb. Gyges ends up taking a gold ring he discovers there, and hence receives magical powers. He uses the power of the ring to seduce the Queen, kill the King in power and ending up ruling his country. In light of this created story, Glaucon claims that once Gyges came into power, he was completely motivated by his own selfish wants and cared about nobody other than himself. Moreover, Glaucon even stated that this loss of morality didn’t apply to only the character within the story, but also to everyone else. Morals become irrelevant where individualistic desires are concerned, and a person can possibly turn evil. According to the writer, those who deny being influenced by self-interest are rather foolish in their claims.
Glaucon’s argument is rather one-sighted and incorporates only psychological egoism. He believes that if given undue and uncontrollable power people will misuse for their individualistic reasons, putting themselves before others. He doesn’t taken into account moderate views, and people, who do possess unrestrained power, but still value other opinions, and are not completely motivated by evil and selfish desires. Therefore, Glauson’s work is rather biased, presenting just some type of people, and is a sole representative of just the psychological egoism, and not ethical egoism.
Glaucon also discussed the aspect of ethics and evil in accordance with his own knowledge. He claimed that people don’t act in accordance to ethical egoism just because it’s considered positive and because it’s inherently good. Instead, he states that people might indulge in this form of egoism just to enjoy the benefits of social life and other aspects that come along with it. In this situation an appropriate example would be, obeying commands of superior authorities in colleges and the workplace to stand out and establish a promising future, or ensure better work prospects. Therefore, any action that is performed while keeping other interests in mind actually does in fact stem from psychological egoism. Furthermore, in order to achieve self-interests and persona motives, adapting a certain level of ethical actions is necessary. It can thus, be concluded that psychological egoism does result in ethical egoism to a certain extent, reestablishing Glaucon’s claim that people are indeed selfish and always will remain so.