现在这是问题所在。无论X做什么，最好的办法就是忏悔。因为如果他不承认，你会得到轻判;如果他确实承认，你将避免完全搞砸！但同样的推理也适用于X.现在根据道德利己主义，你应该追求理性的自我利益。但结果并非最好的结果。你们两个都得到了五年，而如果你们两个都把自己的利益搁置了，你们每个人只能得到两年。这一点很简单。追求自己的利益而不关心他人并不总是符合你的最佳利益。为了别人的利益而牺牲自己的利益，否定了自己生命的基本价值。这似乎是Ayn Rand提出的那种论点，Ayn Rand是“客观主义”的主要代表，也是The Fountainhead和Atlas Shrugged的作者。她的抱怨是，犹太教 – 基督教的道德传统，包括或已经融入现代自由主义和社会主义，推动了利他主义的伦理。利他主义意味着将他人的利益放在自己的利益之上。这是我们经常被鼓励做的事情，鼓励做，在某些情况下甚至需要这样做（例如当我们纳税来支持有需要的人时）。可以说，道德利己主义并不是一种非常流行的道德哲学。这是因为它违背了大多数人对道德所涉及的某些基本假设。两个反对意见似乎特别强大。当出现涉及利益冲突的问题时，道德利己主义无法提供解决方案。很多道德问题都属于这种类型。例如，一家公司想要将废物倒入河中;生活在下游的人们。道德自我主义只是建议双方积极追求他们想要的东西。它没有暗示任何形式的解决方案或常识妥协。道德利己主义违背了公正原则。许多道德哲学家和许多其他人就此问题做出的基本假设是，我们不应以种族，宗教，性别，性取向或种族血统等任意理由歧视他人。但道德自我主义认为我们甚至不应该试图保持公正。相反，我们应该区分自己和其他人，并给予自己优惠待遇。根据兰德的说法，没有人有权期望或要求我为自己以外的任何人做出任何牺牲。这个论点的一个问题是它似乎认为追求自己的利益和帮助他人之间通常存在冲突。事实上，大多数人会说这两个目标并不一定是对立的。很多时候他们互相称赞。例如，一个学生可以帮助一个室友做家庭作业，这是无私的。但那个学生也有兴趣与她的室友保持良好的关系。在任何情况下她都不会帮助任何人，但如果所涉及的牺牲不是太大，她会帮助她。我们大多数人都表现得这样，寻求利己主义和利他主义之间的平衡。对许多人来说，这似乎与道德的本质相矛盾。儒家，佛教，犹太教，基督教和伊斯兰教中出现的“黄金法则”，我们应该像对待我们一样对待别人。现代最伟大的道德哲学家之一，伊曼努尔·康德（Immanuel Kant，1724-1804）认为，道德的基本原则（用他的术语中的“绝对命令”）是我们不应该对自己做例外。根据康德的说法，如果我们不能诚实地希望每个人在相同的情况下都能以类似的方式行事，我们就不应该采取行动。
Now here’s the problem. Regardless of what X does, the best thing for you to do is confess. Because if he doesn’t confess, you’ll get a light sentence; and if he does confess, you’ll at lest avoid getting totally screwed! But the same reasoning holds for X as well. Now according to ethical egoism, you should both pursue your rational self-interest. But then the outcome is not the best one possible. You both get five years, whereas if both of you had put your self-interest on hold, you’d each only get two years. The point of this is simple. It isn’t always in your best interest to pursue your own self-interest without concern for others. Sacrificing one’s own interests for the good of others denies the fundamental value of one’s own life to oneself. This seems to be the sort of argument put forward by Ayn Rand, the leading exponent of “objectivism” and the author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Her complaint is that the Judeo-Christian moral tradition, which includes, or has fed into, modern liberalism and socialism, pushes an ethic of altruism. Altruism means putting the interests of others before your own. This is something we are routinely praised for doing, encouraged to do, and in some circumstances even required to do (e.g. when we pay taxes to support the needy). Ethical egoism, it is fair to say, is not a very popular moral philosophy. This is because it goes against certain basic assumptions that most people have regarding what ethics involves. Two objections seem especially powerful. Ethical egoism has no solutions to offer when a problem arises involving conflicts of interest. Lots of ethical issues are of this sort. For example, a company wants to empty waste into a river; the people living downstream object. Ethical egoism just advises both parties to actively pursue what they want. It doesn’t suggest any sort of resolution or commonsense compromise. Ethical egoism goes against the principle of impartiality. A basic assumption made by many moral philosophers–and many other people, for that matter–is that we should not discriminate against people on arbitrary grounds such as race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or ethnic origin. But ethical egoism holds that we should not even try to be impartial. Rather, we should distinguish between ourselves and everyone else, and give ourselves preferential treatment. According to Rand, no-one has any right to expect or demand that I make any sacrifices for the sake of anyone other than myself. A problem with this argument is that it seems to assume that there is generally a conflict between pursuing one’s own interests and helping others. In fact, though, most people would say that these two goals are not necessarily opposed at all. Much of the time they compliment one another. For instance, one student may help a housemate with her homework, which is altruistic. But that student also has an interest in enjoying good relations with her housemates. She may not help anyone whatsoever in all circumstances, but she will help if the sacrifice involved is not too great. Most of us behave like this, seeking a balance between egoism and altruism. To many, this seems to contradict the very essence of morality. The “golden rule,” versions of which appear in Confucianism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, says we should treat others as we would like to be treated. One of the greatest moral philosophers of modern times, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), argues that the fundamental principle of morality (the “categorical imperative,” in his jargon) is that we should not make exceptions of ourselves. According to Kant, we shouldn’t perform an action if we couldn’t honestly wish that everyone would behave in a similar way in the same circumstances.