Moral schizophrenia and the paradox of friendship

Utilitas 22 (1):1-25 (2010)
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In his landmark paper, , Michael Stocker introduces an affliction that is, according to his diagnosis, endemic to all modern ethical theories. Stocker's paper is well known and often cited, yet moral schizophrenia remains a surprisingly obscure diagnosis. I argue that moral schizophrenia, properly understood, is not necessarily as disruptive as its name suggests. However, I also argue that Stocker's inability to demonstrate that moral schizophrenia constitutes a reductio of modern ethical theories does not rule out the possibility that he has identified a noteworthy psychological phenomenon. Stocker is, in my opinion, correct to note that balancing our broad ethical obligations with authentic personal motives is a non-trivial psychological challenge, even if this challenge is not equivalent to a mental disorder. Hence, I conclude that proponents of modern ethical theorists should not be complacent about the burdens associated with implementing a moral psychology



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Scott Woodcock
University of Victoria

Citations of this work

Friendship.Bennett W. Helm - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
When Will a Consequentialist Push You in Front of a Trolley?Scott Woodcock - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (2):299-316.
When Will Your Consequentialist Friend Abandon You for the Greater Good?Scott Woodcock - 2010 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 4 (2):1-24.

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References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Alienation, consequentialism, and the demands of morality.Peter Railton - 1984 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 13 (2):134-171.
Moral saints.Susan Wolf - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (8):419-439.
The schizophrenia of modern ethical theories.Michael Stocker - 1976 - Journal of Philosophy 73 (14):453-466.

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