Feminist Thought and Ethics of Care

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While ethics theories often focus on justice, care, an "equally valid moral perspective," is usually disregarded because of male bias. The two perspectives are often pleasant-sounding, but a need for care point of view precedence exists. While truth is evident in both these statements, the problem of distinguishing between them becomes apparent soon after. Many feminist look to psychologist Carol Gilligan's research for evidence to confirm the difference between characteristically male and female approaches to moral decision making. Her research illustrated how men almost unfailingly focus on justice when making moral decisions and women use justice and care in equal proportions in their moral judgments. While men and women take different paths with their moral judgments, there is no justifiable basis to put one above the other. Ethics theories usually focus on justice alone. Gilligan concluded that care, something just as important, is usually disregarded in the interests of the male partiality present in the male creators of many ethical theories. Gilligan examines the male justice perspective saying, "From a justice perspective, the self as moral agent stands as the figure against a ground of social relationships judging the conflicting claims of self and others against a standard of equality or equal respect (cited in). The male moral perspective of justice is chiefly rooted in principles and rules, tending to deny the role of feelings and emotions. This sentiment is predominant in moral theories and echoes a male bias, according to Gilligan. Gilligan examines the female justice perspective saying, "From a care perspective, the relationship becomes the figure, defining self and others. Within the context of relationship, the self as a moral agent perceives and responds to the perception of need. The shift in moral perspective is manifest by a change in the moral question from 'What is just?' to 'How to respond?'" The female moral perspective of care...
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