Feminism and the Ethics of Care

Topics: Gender, Immanuel Kant, Ethics Pages: 1 (327 words) Published: October 31, 2014
The idea that women and men think differently has traditionally been used to justify discrimination against women. Aristotle said that women are not as rational as men, and so they are naturally ruled by men. Immanuel Kant agreed, adding that women "lack civil personality" and should have no voice in public life. Jena-jacques Rousseau tried to put a good face on this by emphasizing that women and men merely possess different virtues; but,. of course, it turned out that men's virtues fit them for leadership, whereas women's virtues fit them for home and hearth. Against this background, it is not surprising that the women's movement of the 1960s and 1970s denied that women and men differ psychologically. The conception of men as rational and women as emotional was dismissed as a mere stereotype. Nature makes no mental of moral distinction between the sexes, it was said; and when there seem to be differences, it is only because women have been conditioned by an oppressive system to behave in " feminine" ways. These days, however, most feminists belive that women do think differently thanmen. But, they add, women's ways of thinking are not inferior to men's, nor do the differences justify any kind of prejudice. On the contrary, female ways of thinking yield insights that have been missed in male-dominated areas. Thus, by attending to the distinctive approach of women, we can make progress in subjects that were stalled. Ethics is said to be a leading candidate for this treatment. Heinz's wife was neare death, and her only hope was a drug that had been discovered by a pharmacist who was now selling if or an outrageously high price. The drug cost $200 to make, and the pharmacist was selling if or $2000. Heinz could raise only half of that. The pharmacist said that half wasn't enough, and when Heinz promised to pay the rest later, the pharmacist still refused. In desperation, Heinz considered stealing the drug.
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