Care_Ethics_2020_notes.pdf - 1 Care Ethics(notes for Winter 2020 345-BXH-DW course What is Care Ethics \u2022 Also called \u201cThe Ethics of Care\u201d or in

Care_Ethics_2020_notes.pdf - 1 Care Ethics(notes for Winter...

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1 Care Ethics (notes for Winter 2020: 345-BXH-DW course) What is Care Ethics? • Also called “The Ethics of Care” or, in the 1980s, “Feminist Care Ethics” • a very RECENT theory , invented by Carole Gilligan in the 1980s Where does Care Ethics Come From? • Care Ethics emerges from people’s growing awareness that, historically, ethical philosophy was dominated by MEN (think of ancient Greek philosophers from 2500 years ago Socrates, Plato, Aristotle right up to the 20 th century) As a result, a MALE PERSPECTIVE dominates. For centuries, women virtually never contributed to the ethical conversation (or at least no one bothered to record it if they did) The consequence? Male philosophers promoted their ideas not simply as ONE APPROACH among many, but THE ONE WAY to view reality, as THE TRUTH, a universal perspective (supposedly) common to all. in other words, a MALE BIAS permeates thousands of years of ethical philosophy. We should note, here, that having a specific perspective on the world is not a problem, generally speaking. Everyone has a bias. The problem arises when a particular perspective, a particular bias, become UNIVERSALIZED, and INSTITUTIONALIZED, as the ONLY legitimate approach to the world. • As the 20 th century unfolded, with its waves of feminism, a new awareness arose: that traditional ethical philosophy privileges a MALE perspective, whilst devaluing FEMALE approaches. This new realization was promoted by Carol Gilligan, a US psychology professor, in her 1982 book In a Different Voice. Gilligan observes how traditional ethical philosophy had, to that point, been shaped by a MALE BIAS. What does this traditional MALE BIAS involve? • a focus on JUSTICE • on IMPARTIALITY • on UNIVERSALITY on the need to maintain DISTANCE for example, think of Kant, whose deontological approach to ethics uses impartial rationality to evaluate every problem.
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2 Kant also advocates for the existence of OBJECTIVE UNIVERSAL RULES (his Categorical Imperatives) to guide ethical decision-making. Kant eschews emotion, and wants people to be cool, reserved, and wholly rational in their application of these rules. —For Kant, people aren’t unique individuals with whom you have a special bond. Rather, people are simple RATIONAL AGENTS who must be treated according to certain UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES. E.g. think of ACT UTILITARIANS, who, again, advocate for IMPARTIALITY in ethics. for Jeremy Bentham, the Hedonic Calculus was abstract, like a mathematical equation. your personal relationships, and happiness are all subservient to the greater happiness of the larger population. —the Utilitarian doesn’t think of people as unique individuals to whom you have a personal connect: people are simply abstract, quantifiable entities. VIEWS ON SELFHOOD: ATOMISTIC vs. RELATIONAL In the late 20 th -Century, critics of traditional, male-biased philosophy pointed out that it promoted an ATOMISTIC view of the self WHAT IS AN ATOMISTIC VIEW OF THE SELF?
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