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Module 14: The Ethics of Care Philosophy 240: Introductory Ethics Online CCBC Author: Daniel G. Jenkins, MA Updated May 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Module 14: The Ethics of Care Philosophy 240: Introductory Ethics Online CCBC Author: Daniel G. Jenkins, MA Updated May 2008."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Module 14: The Ethics of Care Philosophy 240: Introductory Ethics Online CCBC Author: Daniel G. Jenkins, MA Updated May 2008

3 This module is meant to accompany “Chapter 11: Feminism and the Ethics of Care” in Rachels’ The Elements of Moral Philosophy, 5 th edition. Module Goals: After completing readings, presentations, discussions, and coursework for this module, you will be able to: ◦ Identify and explain core aspects of the Ethics of Care ◦ Apply the Ethics of Care in moral decision-making ◦ Analyze the usefulness and critique features of the Ethics of Care ◦ Synthesize the Ethics of Care with other theories in the academic study of ethics

4 A different ethical approach The Ethics of Care says: emotion matters Duties, rights and obligations are just one way of thinking about ethics

5 Kohlberg Behavioral psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg tested child subjects using “Heinz’ Dilemma:” should a man steal an expensive drug to save the life of his wife?

6 Kohlberg

7 There are gender differences in moral reasoning Kohlberg concluded that females are incapable of moral reasoning Kohlberg identified six developmental constructive stages in moral reasoning

8 Stages of Moral Reasoning Level 1 (Pre-Conventional)  1. Obedience and punishment orientation  (How can I avoid punishment?)  2. Self-interest orientation  (What's in it for me?) Level 2 (Conventional)  3. Interpersonal accord and conformity  (The good boy/good girl attitude)  4. Authority and social-order maintaining orientation  (Law and order morality) Level 3 (Post-Conventional)  5. Social contract orientation  6. Universal ethical principles  (Principled conscience)

9 Male Superiority Kohlberg noted that boys cite relevant principle to solve Heinz’s dilemma Girls approach moral dilemmas from a developmentally lower stage Kohlberg concluded that boys reason more effectively than girls.

10 Gilligan’s Reinterpretation Carol Gilligan notes that Kohlberg’s results indicate male bias There is no reason to assume the stereotypical male method of reasoning is superior to the stereotypical female method of reasoning

11 Carol Gilligan

12 Socialized morality The “justice” view of morality is male-centered 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

13 The Ethics of Care 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 We should cultivate our natural capacity to care for others and ourselves

14 Break with tradition Ethics of care contrasts with more well-known ethical views, such as utilitarianism and deontology or Kantian ethics. The traditional 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.

15 A feminist ethics? The ethics of care was developed as part of a feminist movement Some modern feminists have criticized care-based ethics for reinforcing traditional stereotypes of a 'good woman’ Nevertheless, the ethics of care illustrates that there may be gender differences in moral reasoning The ethics of care meshes with our belief that different rules of conduct apply in our personal and public lives.

16 Summary Kohlberg suggested that women simply could not engage in moral reasoning, because, in his experiments, they were attentive to what he believed to be irrelevant factors, like context and relationships, and did not frequently cite relevant principles. Carol Gilligan reinterpreted these results in light of gender studies and feminist ethics, and concluded that women typically do reason in a morally acceptable manner, simply that they find different kinds of factors to be relevant.

17 Summary, continued The ethics of care is an ethics promoted by Gilligan and Nel Noddings, who believe that we behave morally inasmuch as we care for those with whom we have personal relationships; they assert that emotive factors are relevant factors. Making the emotive admissible to moral deliberation interferes with our desire to be objective, but satisfies our understanding that we have different moral roles concerning people close to us. Ethics of care is further criticized by contemporary feminists on the grounds that it reinforces stereotypically female roles.

18 Congratulations! You’ve just completed the presentation for Module 14. Once you have also completed the assigned reading from the textbook, please proceed to the “Assignments” and “Discussion” tabs in WebCT to complete relevant coursework for this module. If you have any questions please contact me.contact me


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