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{{PhilPsy}}
The '''ethics of care''' movement is a movement in twentieth century normative [[ethics|ethical theory]] that is largely inspired by the work of psychologist [[Carol Gilligan]]. The easiest way for many people to understand care ethics is by contrasting the theory to more well-known ethical views. The popular ethical theories of [[utilitarianism]] and [[deontology]] tend to emphasize universal standards, moral rules, and impartiality. This sort of outlook is what feminist critics call a 'justice view' of morality. Gilligan and others have suggested that the history of ethics in Western culture has emphasized the justice view of morality because it is the outlook that has traditionally been cultivated and shared by men. By contrast, women have traditionally been taught a different kind of moral outlook that emphasizes solidarity, community, and caring about one's special relationships. This "care view" of morality has been ignored or trivialized because women were traditionally in positions of limited power and influence. The justice view of morality focuses on doing the right thing even if it requires personal cost or sacrificing the interest of those to whom one is close. The care view would instead say that we can and should put the interests of those who are close to us above the interests of complete strangers, and that we should cultivate our natural capacity to care for others and ourselves.
+
The '''ethics of care''' is a [[normative ethics|normative]] [[ethics|ethical theory]]; that is, a theory about what makes actions right or wrong. It is one of a cluster of normative ethical theories that were developed by [[feminists]] in the second half of the twentieth century. While [[consequentialism|consequentialist]] and [[deontology|deontological]] ethical theories emphasize universal standards and impartiality, ethics of care emphasize the importance of response. "The shift in moral perspective is manifest by a change in the moral question from "what is just?" to "how to respond?"<ref>Gilligan, Carol. "Moral Orientation and Moral Development." The Feminist Philosophy Reader. By Alison Bailey and Chris J. Cuomo. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2008. N. pag. 469 Print.</ref> Ethics of care criticizes the applications of universal standards as "morally problematic, since it breeds moral blindness or indifference." <ref>Gilligan, Carol. "Moral Orientation and Moral Development." The Feminist Philosophy Reader. By Alison Bailey and Chris J. Cuomo. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2008. N. pag. 471 Print.</ref>
   
==Important Names in the Ethics of Care==
+
The basic beliefs of the theory are:
  +
# All individuals are interdependent for achieving their interests
  +
# Those particularly vulnerable to our choices and their outcomes deserve extra consideration to be measured according to
  +
## the level of their vulnerability to one's choices
  +
## the level of their affectedness by one's choices and no one else's
  +
# It is necessary to attend to the contextual details of the situation in order to safeguard and promote the actual specific interests of those involved
   
* [[Carol Gilligan]]
+
==Historical background==
  +
One of the founders of the ethics of care was American ethicist and psychologist [[Carol Gilligan]]. Gilligan was a student of developmental psychologist [[Lawrence Kohlberg]] and developed her moral theory in contrast to her mentor's theory of [[Kohlberg's stages of moral development|stages of moral development]]. She disputed his concept of human maturity which measures, and assesses progress along the following stages:<ref>Cavanaugh, J & Kail, R(2004) Human development: A Lifespan View, (3rd ed.) Wadsworth press Pg 321</ref>
  +
{| class="wikitable"
  +
|-
  +
! Stage
  +
! Goal
  +
|-
  +
|Pre-conventional
  +
|Stage 1: Obedience to authority
  +
Stage 2: Nice behavior in exchange for future favors
  +
|-
  +
|Conventional
  +
|Stage 3: Live up to others' expectations
  +
Stage 4: Follow rules to maintain social order
  +
|-
  +
|Post-conventional
  +
|Stage 5: Adhere to social contract when it is valid
  +
Stage 6: Personal moral system based on abstract principles
  +
|}
   
* [[Nel Noddings]]
+
Gilligan advanced the view that this model must be wrong. Measuring progress by it resulted in boys being found to be more morally mature than girls, and this held for adult men and women as well, although when education is controlled for there are no gender differences.<ref> Walker, L.J. (1991). "Sex differences in moral reasoning.” In W.M. Kurtines and J. L. Gewirtz (eds.) ''Handbook of moral behavior and development'': Vol, 2. Research. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.</ref> This was not an objective scale of moral development, Gilligan argued, but other researchers have found the scale to be psycho-metrically sound.<ref> Ward, Dana (2000). "Still Hearing Voice: The Persistent Myth of Gendered Judgment," Keynote address presented at the VIIIth Biennial conference of the International Society for Justice Research, Rishon LeZion, Israel.</ref> It displayed a particularly masculine perspective on morality, founded on justice and abstract duties or obligations. She also stated that Kohlberg's founding study consisted of largely male participants.<ref>[[In a Different Voice]]</ref>
   
* Sandra Bartky
+
Gilligan offered a [[difference feminist]] perspective: men and women have tendencies to view morality in different terms, with women tending to emphasize empathy and compassion over the notions of morality that are privileged by Kohlberg's scale.<ref>Gilligan, Carol. In A Different Voice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1982.</ref>
  +
The "different voice," however, is not characterized by gender. Rather, it is associated with women by means of an empirical observation. <ref>Gilligan, Carol. In a Different Voice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1982. p. 8-9</ref> Subsequent research, confirms that the difference in the use of the care ethic or the justice orientation is not based on gender differences. <ref> Ford and Lowery (1986). "Gender Differences in Moral Reasoning: A Comparison of the Use of Justice and Care Orientations". ''Journal of Personality and Social Psychology''. 50(4), 777-783; Rothbart, Hanley and Albert (1986). "Gender Differences in Moral Reasoning." ''Sex Roles''. 15(11&12), 645-653; and Krebs, D.L., Vermeulen, S.C., Denton, K., and Carpendale, J. I. (1994). "Gender and perspective differences in moral judgment and moral orientation". ''Journal of Moral Education''. 23, 17-26.</ref>
   
* Rita Manning
+
==Comparing ethics of care with traditional ethical positions==
  +
Ethics of care contrasts with more well-known ethical views, such as [[consequentialism|consequentialist]] theories (e.g. [[utilitarianism]]) and deontological theories (e.g. [[Kantian ethics]]). This sort of outlook is what feminist critics call a 'justice view' of morality. A morality of care rests on the understanding of relationships as a response to another in their terms.
   
* Grace Clement
+
==Ethics of care and feminist ethics==
  +
While some feminists have criticized care-based ethics for reinforcing traditional stereotypes of a “good woman”<ref>Bartky, Sandra Lee: ''Femininity and Domination'', page 104-5. Routledge, New York, 1990.</ref> others have embraced parts of this paradigm under the theoretical concept of care-focused feminism.<ref>Tong, Rosmarie: Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction, page 162-165. Westview Press, Charlotte, 2009.</ref>
   
* Eva Feder Kittay
+
Care-focused feminism is a branch of feminist thought, informed primarily by ethics of care as developed by [[Carol Gilligan]] and [[Nel Noddings]].<ref>Tong, Rosmarie: Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction, page 162-165. Westview Press, Charlotte, 2009.</ref> This body of theory is critical of how caring is socially engendered to women and consequently devalued. “Care-focused feminists regard women’s capacity for care as a human strength”<ref>Tong, Rosmarie: Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction, page 162-165. Westview Press, Charlotte, 2009.</ref> which can and should be taught to and expected of men as well as women. Noddings proposes that ethical caring has the potential to be a more concrete evaluative model of moral dilemma, than an ethic of justice.<ref>Noddings, Nel: Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education, page 3-4. University of California Press, Berkeley, 1984.</ref> Noddings’ care-focused feminism requires practical application of [[Nel Noddings#Nel Noddings' relational ethics|relational ethics]], predicated on an ethic of care.<ref>Noddings, Nel: Women and Evil, page 222. University of California Press, Berkeley, 1989.</ref>
   
== External links ==
+
Ethics of care is also a basis for care-focused feminist theorizing on maternal ethics. Critical of how society engenders caring labor, theorists [[Sara Ruddick]], [[Virginia Held]], and [[Eva Feder Kittay]] suggest caring should be performed and care givers valued in both public and private spheres.<ref>Kittay, Eva Feder: Love’s Labor: Essays on Women, Equality and Dependency, page 20. Routledge, New York, 1999.</ref> Their theories recognize caring as an ethically relevant issue.<ref>Held, Virginia. Ethics of Care, page 64. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2006.</ref> This proposed paradigm shift in ethics encourages that an ethic of caring be the social responsibility of both men and women.
   
*[http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminism-ethics/#2 Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Feminist Ethics]
+
Joan Tronto argues that the definition of the term "ethic of care" is ambiguous due in part to the lack of a central role it plays in moral theory. <ref name="Tronto">Tronto, J. (2005). An Ethic of Care. In A. Cudd & R. Andreasen (Eds.), Feminist theory: a philosophical anthology (pp.251-263). Malden: Blackwell Publishing.</ref> She argues that considering moral philosophy is engaged with human goodness, than care would appear to assume a significant role in this type of philosophy.<ref name="Tronto"/> However, this is not the case and Tronto further stresses the association between care and "naturalness", referring to the socially and culturally constructed gender roles assumes care to the role of the woman.<ref name="Tronto"/>As such, it loses the power to take a central role in moral theory.
   
*[http://caae.phil.cmu.edu/Cavalier/80130/part2/II_7.html Ethics of Care article at Carnegie Mellon website]
+
Tronto states there are four ethical elements of care:
   
  +
1. Attentiveness <br>
  +
Attentiveness is crucial to the ethics of care because care requires a recognition of others needs in order to respond to them.<ref name="Tronto"/>The question which arises is the distinction between ignorance and inattentiveness.<ref name="Tronto"/>Tronto poses this question as such, "But when is ignorance simply ignorance, and when is it inattentiveness"? <ref name="Tronto"/>
  +
  +
2. Responsibility <br>
  +
In order to care, we must take it upon ourselves, thus responsibility. The problem associated with this second ethical element of responsibility is the question of obligation. Obligation is often if not already tied to pre-established societal and cultural norms and roles. Tronto makes the effort to differentiate the terms "responsibility" and "obligation" with regards to the ethic of care. Responsibility is ambiguous, whereas obligation refers to situations where action or reaction is due, such as the case of a legal contract.<ref name="Tronto"/>This ambiguity allows for ebb and flow in and between class structures and gender roles, and to other socially constructed roles that would bind responsibility to those only befitting of those roles.
  +
  +
3. Competence <br>
  +
To provide care also means competency. One cannot simply acknowledge the need to care, accept the responsibility, but do not follow through with enough adequacy - as such action would result in the need of care not being met.<ref name="Tronto"/>
  +
  +
4. Responsiveness <br>
  +
This refers to the "responsiveness of the care receiver to the care".<ref name="Tronto"/>Tronto states, "Responsiveness signals an important moral problem within care: by its nature, care is concerned with conditions of vulnerability and inequality".<ref name="Tronto"/>She further argues responsiveness does not equal reciprocity.<ref name="Tronto"/> Rather, it is another method to understand vulnerability and inequality by understanding what has been expressed by those in the vulnerable position, as opposed to re-imagining oneself in a similar situation.<ref name="Tronto"/>
  +
  +
==See also==
  +
===Theories===
  +
*[[Caregivers]]
  +
*[[Caregiver burden]]
  +
*[[Feminist ethics]]
  +
*[[Ethics]]
  +
  +
===Theorists===
  +
* [[Sandra Bartky]]
  +
* [[Grace Clement]]
  +
* [[Carol Gilligan]]
  +
* [[Virginia Held]]
  +
* [[Sarah Hoagland]]
  +
* [[Eva Feder Kittay]]
  +
* [[Rita Manning]]
  +
* [[Nel Noddings]]
  +
* [[Sara Ruddick]]
  +
* [[Ellen Feder]]
  +
* [[Michael Slote]]
  +
  +
==References==
  +
<references/>
  +
  +
==Further reading and External links==
  +
* {{Cite book
  +
| last =Held
  +
| first =Virginia
  +
| title =The Ethics of Care
  +
| publisher =Oxford University Press
  +
| year =2005
  +
| location =Oxford
  +
| url =http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/oso/public/content/philosophy/9780195180992/toc.html
  +
| doi =10.1093/0195180992.001.0001
  +
| isbn = 978-0-19-518099-2
  +
}}
  +
  +
* {{Cite book
  +
| last =Slote
  +
| first =Michael A.
  +
| title =The Ethics of Care and Empathy
  +
| publisher =Routledge
  +
| year =2007
  +
| location =London ; New York
  +
| url =
  +
| isbn = 978-0-415-77200-6 (hardback)
  +
}}
  +
*[http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminism-ethics/#2 Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Feminist Ethics]
  +
*[http://caae.phil.cmu.edu/Cavalier/80130/part2/II_7.html Ethics of Care article at Carnegie Mellon website]
  +
*[http://www.stolaf.edu/people/huff/classes/handbook/Gilligan.html Gilligan's stages of moral development]
 
*[http://www.infed.org/thinkers/noddings.htm Nel Noddings biography]
 
*[http://www.infed.org/thinkers/noddings.htm Nel Noddings biography]
   
[[Category:Ethical schools and movements|Care]]
+
*Gilligan, Carol. In A Different Voice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1982.
[[Category:Feminism]]
+
[[Category;Ethics]]
+
*Jagger, Alison. “Caring as a Feminist Practice of Moral Reason.” Justice and Care: Essential Readings in Feminist Ethics. Ed. Virginia Held. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. 1995.
  +
  +
*Noddings, Nel, ed. Educating Citizens for Global Awareness. New York: Teachers College Press. 2005.
  +
  +
*Held, Virginia. Feminist Morality: Transforming Culture, Society, and Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1993.
  +
  +
{{ethics}}
  +
  +
{{DEFAULTSORT:Ethics Of Care}}
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[[Category:Caregivers]]
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[[Category:Concepts in ethics]]
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[[Category:Feminist ethics]]
  +
[[Category:Feminist philosophy]]
  +
[[Category:Normative ethics|Care]]
  +
[[Category:Relational ethics]]
  +
  +
{{enWP|Ethics of care}}

Latest revision as of 13:50, May 4, 2013

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The ethics of care is a normative ethical theory; that is, a theory about what makes actions right or wrong. It is one of a cluster of normative ethical theories that were developed by feminists in the second half of the twentieth century. While consequentialist and deontological ethical theories emphasize universal standards and impartiality, ethics of care emphasize the importance of response. "The shift in moral perspective is manifest by a change in the moral question from "what is just?" to "how to respond?"[1] Ethics of care criticizes the applications of universal standards as "morally problematic, since it breeds moral blindness or indifference." [2]

The basic beliefs of the theory are:

  1. All individuals are interdependent for achieving their interests
  2. Those particularly vulnerable to our choices and their outcomes deserve extra consideration to be measured according to
    1. the level of their vulnerability to one's choices
    2. the level of their affectedness by one's choices and no one else's
  3. It is necessary to attend to the contextual details of the situation in order to safeguard and promote the actual specific interests of those involved

Historical backgroundEdit

One of the founders of the ethics of care was American ethicist and psychologist Carol Gilligan. Gilligan was a student of developmental psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg and developed her moral theory in contrast to her mentor's theory of stages of moral development. She disputed his concept of human maturity which measures, and assesses progress along the following stages:[3]

Stage Goal
Pre-conventional Stage 1: Obedience to authority

Stage 2: Nice behavior in exchange for future favors

Conventional Stage 3: Live up to others' expectations

Stage 4: Follow rules to maintain social order

Post-conventional Stage 5: Adhere to social contract when it is valid

Stage 6: Personal moral system based on abstract principles

Gilligan advanced the view that this model must be wrong. Measuring progress by it resulted in boys being found to be more morally mature than girls, and this held for adult men and women as well, although when education is controlled for there are no gender differences.[4] This was not an objective scale of moral development, Gilligan argued, but other researchers have found the scale to be psycho-metrically sound.[5] It displayed a particularly masculine perspective on morality, founded on justice and abstract duties or obligations. She also stated that Kohlberg's founding study consisted of largely male participants.[6]

Gilligan offered a difference feminist perspective: men and women have tendencies to view morality in different terms, with women tending to emphasize empathy and compassion over the notions of morality that are privileged by Kohlberg's scale.[7] The "different voice," however, is not characterized by gender. Rather, it is associated with women by means of an empirical observation. [8] Subsequent research, confirms that the difference in the use of the care ethic or the justice orientation is not based on gender differences. [9]

Comparing ethics of care with traditional ethical positionsEdit

Ethics of care contrasts with more well-known ethical views, such as consequentialist theories (e.g. utilitarianism) and deontological theories (e.g. Kantian ethics). This sort of outlook is what feminist critics call a 'justice view' of morality. A morality of care rests on the understanding of relationships as a response to another in their terms.

Ethics of care and feminist ethicsEdit

While some feminists have criticized care-based ethics for reinforcing traditional stereotypes of a “good woman”[10] others have embraced parts of this paradigm under the theoretical concept of care-focused feminism.[11]

Care-focused feminism is a branch of feminist thought, informed primarily by ethics of care as developed by Carol Gilligan and Nel Noddings.[12] This body of theory is critical of how caring is socially engendered to women and consequently devalued. “Care-focused feminists regard women’s capacity for care as a human strength”[13] which can and should be taught to and expected of men as well as women. Noddings proposes that ethical caring has the potential to be a more concrete evaluative model of moral dilemma, than an ethic of justice.[14] Noddings’ care-focused feminism requires practical application of relational ethics, predicated on an ethic of care.[15]

Ethics of care is also a basis for care-focused feminist theorizing on maternal ethics. Critical of how society engenders caring labor, theorists Sara Ruddick, Virginia Held, and Eva Feder Kittay suggest caring should be performed and care givers valued in both public and private spheres.[16] Their theories recognize caring as an ethically relevant issue.[17] This proposed paradigm shift in ethics encourages that an ethic of caring be the social responsibility of both men and women.

Joan Tronto argues that the definition of the term "ethic of care" is ambiguous due in part to the lack of a central role it plays in moral theory. [18] She argues that considering moral philosophy is engaged with human goodness, than care would appear to assume a significant role in this type of philosophy.[18] However, this is not the case and Tronto further stresses the association between care and "naturalness", referring to the socially and culturally constructed gender roles assumes care to the role of the woman.[18]As such, it loses the power to take a central role in moral theory.

Tronto states there are four ethical elements of care:

1. Attentiveness
Attentiveness is crucial to the ethics of care because care requires a recognition of others needs in order to respond to them.[18]The question which arises is the distinction between ignorance and inattentiveness.[18]Tronto poses this question as such, "But when is ignorance simply ignorance, and when is it inattentiveness"? [18]

2. Responsibility
In order to care, we must take it upon ourselves, thus responsibility. The problem associated with this second ethical element of responsibility is the question of obligation. Obligation is often if not already tied to pre-established societal and cultural norms and roles. Tronto makes the effort to differentiate the terms "responsibility" and "obligation" with regards to the ethic of care. Responsibility is ambiguous, whereas obligation refers to situations where action or reaction is due, such as the case of a legal contract.[18]This ambiguity allows for ebb and flow in and between class structures and gender roles, and to other socially constructed roles that would bind responsibility to those only befitting of those roles.

3. Competence
To provide care also means competency. One cannot simply acknowledge the need to care, accept the responsibility, but do not follow through with enough adequacy - as such action would result in the need of care not being met.[18]

4. Responsiveness
This refers to the "responsiveness of the care receiver to the care".[18]Tronto states, "Responsiveness signals an important moral problem within care: by its nature, care is concerned with conditions of vulnerability and inequality".[18]She further argues responsiveness does not equal reciprocity.[18] Rather, it is another method to understand vulnerability and inequality by understanding what has been expressed by those in the vulnerable position, as opposed to re-imagining oneself in a similar situation.[18]

See alsoEdit

TheoriesEdit

TheoristsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Gilligan, Carol. "Moral Orientation and Moral Development." The Feminist Philosophy Reader. By Alison Bailey and Chris J. Cuomo. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2008. N. pag. 469 Print.
  2. Gilligan, Carol. "Moral Orientation and Moral Development." The Feminist Philosophy Reader. By Alison Bailey and Chris J. Cuomo. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2008. N. pag. 471 Print.
  3. Cavanaugh, J & Kail, R(2004) Human development: A Lifespan View, (3rd ed.) Wadsworth press Pg 321
  4. Walker, L.J. (1991). "Sex differences in moral reasoning.” In W.M. Kurtines and J. L. Gewirtz (eds.) Handbook of moral behavior and development: Vol, 2. Research. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  5. Ward, Dana (2000). "Still Hearing Voice: The Persistent Myth of Gendered Judgment," Keynote address presented at the VIIIth Biennial conference of the International Society for Justice Research, Rishon LeZion, Israel.
  6. In a Different Voice
  7. Gilligan, Carol. In A Different Voice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1982.
  8. Gilligan, Carol. In a Different Voice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1982. p. 8-9
  9. Ford and Lowery (1986). "Gender Differences in Moral Reasoning: A Comparison of the Use of Justice and Care Orientations". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 50(4), 777-783; Rothbart, Hanley and Albert (1986). "Gender Differences in Moral Reasoning." Sex Roles. 15(11&12), 645-653; and Krebs, D.L., Vermeulen, S.C., Denton, K., and Carpendale, J. I. (1994). "Gender and perspective differences in moral judgment and moral orientation". Journal of Moral Education. 23, 17-26.
  10. Bartky, Sandra Lee: Femininity and Domination, page 104-5. Routledge, New York, 1990.
  11. Tong, Rosmarie: Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction, page 162-165. Westview Press, Charlotte, 2009.
  12. Tong, Rosmarie: Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction, page 162-165. Westview Press, Charlotte, 2009.
  13. Tong, Rosmarie: Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction, page 162-165. Westview Press, Charlotte, 2009.
  14. Noddings, Nel: Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education, page 3-4. University of California Press, Berkeley, 1984.
  15. Noddings, Nel: Women and Evil, page 222. University of California Press, Berkeley, 1989.
  16. Kittay, Eva Feder: Love’s Labor: Essays on Women, Equality and Dependency, page 20. Routledge, New York, 1999.
  17. Held, Virginia. Ethics of Care, page 64. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2006.
  18. 18.00 18.01 18.02 18.03 18.04 18.05 18.06 18.07 18.08 18.09 18.10 18.11 Tronto, J. (2005). An Ethic of Care. In A. Cudd & R. Andreasen (Eds.), Feminist theory: a philosophical anthology (pp.251-263). Malden: Blackwell Publishing.

Further reading and External linksEdit

  • Gilligan, Carol. In A Different Voice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1982.
  • Jagger, Alison. “Caring as a Feminist Practice of Moral Reason.” Justice and Care: Essential Readings in Feminist Ethics. Ed. Virginia Held. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. 1995.
  • Noddings, Nel, ed. Educating Citizens for Global Awareness. New York: Teachers College Press. 2005.
  • Held, Virginia. Feminist Morality: Transforming Culture, Society, and Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1993.
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