2 Rethinking the History of Ethical Theory Women’s voices have been excluded from the canon.Autonomous man – an ethics of strangers, odd from a feminist perspective.Social contract theory – disadvantages women, glue of society is not contract but familyImpartiality and Universality – invalidates moral priority of intimate relationshipsAbsence of embodiment – res cogitans not embodied beings
3 Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development Preconventional morality: early childhood:Stage One: desire to avoid punishmentStage Two: Tit for tatConventional morality: adolescence and adulthoodStage three: Good boy/ nice girl orientationStage four: Rule followingPost conventional morality: rarely reachedStage five: social construct orientationStage six: universal justice, reciprocity, equality and respect
4 The Ethics of CareCarol Gilligan – began research on moral development with draft resisters then shifted to female subjects on the subject of abortion when the draft ended in 1973.Metaphor of voice – instead of theory or perspective.Women’s voices didn’t fit Kohlberg’s stages: care rather than justiceWomen emerge as more concerned about relationships, emotional connectedness and caregiving. Voice varies internally regarding masculine and feminine approaches to morality, as well as between the genders.
5 Rethinking the Foundations of Ethics Ethics as conversation: conversation not argument.Inclusive conversation: women and people of color need to be involved.New issues emerge: domestic violence, child abuse, family leave, responsibilities toward elderly parents.Caution against using morality to justify violence: honor, domestic violence, suppression.
6 Caring and Act Utilitarianism Both are consequentialist and address pleasures and pains.Care ethic calculates differently:Extent to which people might be hurt by a particular decisionDegree to which a particular decision might diminish the sense of connectedness among participants of the situation.Emotions more important.
7 Feminine and Feminist Ethics Feminine ethics: emphasize women’s moral voices, often an ethics of care, following Gilligan.Feminist ethics focusses on women’s oppression and argues for policies to rectify past injustices.Power and inequality stressed.Conditions for feminist ethics from Alison Jagger:Sensitive to gender inequalitiesUnderstand individual actions in the context of broader social practices.Provide guidance on issues traditionally seen as private, e.g., personal relationships and family.Take the moral experience of women seriously
8 Public and Private Realms Feminist ethics emphasizes moral scrutiny in the private realm generally confined to women, children persons or color and persons with disabilities.Family issues – equal treatment of men and women at home, in workplace.Power issues: patriarchy, rape, reproductive freedom, sexism in language, harassment, pornography, poverty.
9 Queer and Transgender Theories Reconsider the notion of gender identity and sexual orientation and domination entailed.Reconsider “the natural.”Reconsider dichotomous thinking: male/femaleEmergence of transgender theory.