How does egoism compare with utilitarianism?

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rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Egoism is different from utilitarianism in that it suggests that individuals should always be guided by what is in their own self-interest. Utilitarianism proposes that a person's actions should be undertaken with a view to producing the most happiness. This does not necessarily entail producing the most happiness for one's self, but could be for society for a whole. Indeed, the most famous articulations of utilitarianism, by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, made this a goal. However, self-interest is not necessarily irreconcilable with utilitarianism when it comes to making actual choices. They are both related to consequentialism, which, as the name implies, weighs actions based on their outcomes. However, egoism assumes that the individual ought to regard his or her interests as more important than those of anyone else. Utilitarianism does not.