Care Ethics

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Samantha G

Care Ethics

Did you ever stop and think long and hard about what type of person you are? Whether you put your needs before the needs of others, or if you care for others more than you care for yourself. The word “care” can mean many things. The ethics of care is a normative ethical theory about what makes actions right or wrong. It implies that there is moral significance in the elements of relationships and dependencies in human life. Care ethics normally seeks to maintain relationships by promoting the well-being of each other. The word “care” involves meeting the needs of not only our self, but others as well. It is inspired by memories of being cared for and the idealizations of self. Since “care” depends upon the contextual considerations, it is difficult to define. There have been at least three distinct but overlapping meanings that have emerged in the recent decades. It can be known as “an ethic defined in opposition to justice, a kind of labor, and a particular relationship.” In ethical literature, ‘care’ is most often defined as “a practice, value, disposition, or virtue, and is frequently portrayed as an overlapping set of concepts.” One of the most popular definitions of care is “a species of activity that includes everything we do to maintain, contain, and repair our ‘world’ so that we can live in it as well as possible. That world includes our bodies, us, and our environment”.
Care ethics was first most explicitly articulated by Carol Gilligan and Nel Noddings in the early 1980s. Gilligan, a graduate student at Harvard, wrote her paper outlining a different path of moral development than the one described by Lawrence Kohlberg, her mentor. Gilligan believed that her mentor Kohlberg’s model of moral development to be gender biased. She posed a different view and found that both men and women articulated the voice of care at different times, but pointed out that without women, the voice of care would nearly fall out



Bibliography: Engster, Daniel. “Care ethics and Animal Welfare.” Journal of Social Philosophy 37.4 (2006): 521. Jaggar, Allison. “”Feminist Ethics: Problems, Projects, Prospects.” Feminist Ethics. Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas, 1991. 78- 104. Larrabee, Mary Jeane, ed. An Ethic of Care: Feminist and Interdisciplinary Perspectives. New York, NY: Routledge, 1993. Noddings, Nel. Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education. Berkeley: University of CA Press, 1982.

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