The Schizophrenia of Modern Ethical Theories by Michael Stocker – Article Example

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The paper “ The Schizophrenia of Modern Ethical Theories by Michael Stocker“ is a  thrilling variant on an article on philosophy. Michael Stocker has bought a charge against the ethical theories in the paper “ The Schizophrenia of Modern Ethical Theories” . Stocker states that “ One mark of a good life is a harmony between one’ s motives and one’ s reasons, values, and justifications. Not to be moved by what one values… bespeaks a malady of the spirit. Not to value what moves one also bespeaks a malady of the spirit” (Stocker, Michael )Stocker has suggested that all those who had been following this theory had been suffering from “ moral schizophrenia” .That means there will be a gap between values and motives pursued by a person.

The gap was called the malady of sprit by Stocker as the gaps were caused by the flaws in the theories. What does he mean by thisStocker believes that moral schizophrenia can be seen in extreme cases when one is forced to do certain acts that can be termed as bad, harmful, ugly and abasing. This can be termed in anther was, when one is digested or horrified or dismayed by the act one is forced to do.

Moral schizophrenia has been found in a milder emotional mental state like weakness of will, guilt, indecisiveness, shame and self-deception acts. Stocker has been suggesting that modern theories do necessitate schizophrenia. This can be termed as an example of a hedonistic egoist who believes that the act can be termed as moral as long as it maximizes personal pleasure. These types of persons may be entering a friendship or act of love to advance personal pleasure.

Even in those cases, the person entering into friendship or relationship will have to look after that person. The hedonist egoist cannot meet this requirement of acting for the sake of another person and the person will be denied the true value of friendship and so on. Stocker says that one must hide the fact he is hedonist egoist to engage in true relationship and this is the point that Stocker makes by saying “ moral Schizophrenia” . The aim of the theory proposed by the Stocker is that there is disharmony the way a person act and the personal belief that exhorts our actions.

There are two issues that arise out of this. The first issue is that the life people would live if they had followed the reason for the action at the expense of personal motivations. The present-day theories tend to focus more on the duty, obligation, and rights of individuals and it becomes difficult for a person to follow it in the right earnest and achieve the good without suffering psychologically. Stocker goes through two paths or theories to nail down his point.

One is the point of egoism and the other is the point of utilitarianism. Feelings towards fellow beings are considered important for personal well being and pleasure. The feelings displayed by fellow beings are just for personal purpose and for an egoist to obtain this feeling should be ready to abandon egoism.


Cocking, Dean and Justin Oakley,1995 “Indirect Consequentialism, Friendship, and the Problem of Alienation.” Ethics, Vol.106(1), pp. 86-111.

Kant, Immanuel,2002, Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, viewed on May 25, 2009, retrieved from

Railton, Peter,1984, “Alienation, Consequentialism, and the Demands of Morality.” Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 13.2,pp.134-171.

Stocker, Michael,1976, “The Schizophrenia of Modern Ethical Theories.” The Journal of Philosophy, Vol 73(14), pp. 453-466.

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