The Ethics of Care as Moral Theory

Virginia Held

in The Ethics of Care

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780195180992
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199785957 | DOI:
  The Ethics of Care as Moral Theory

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The ethics of care is a distinct moral theory, not merely a concern that can be added on to or included within the most influential moral theories such as Kantian morality, utilitarianism, or virtue ethics. The ethics of care arose out of feminists’ appreciation of the importance of care and caring labor. As a fully normative theory, it has developed far beyond its earliest formulations in the work of Sara Ruddick, Carol Gilligan, and Nel Noddings. It is recognized as highly relevant to political and global contexts as well as to the more personal ones of family and friendship. It includes concern for transforming the structures within which practices of care take place, so that they are no longer oppressive. The ethics of care has the great advantage in a moral theory of being based on experience that is truly universal: the experience of having been cared for.

Keywords: moral theories; care; caring labor; normativity; universal experience; Sara Ruddick; Carol Gilligan; Nel Noddings

Chapter.  10676 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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