Gandhi's universal ethic and feminism: Shared starting points but divergent ends

Asian Philosophy 18 (2):185 – 195 (2008)
Abstract
Like the dominant moral philosophers in the Western tradition, Mahatma Gandhi reaches moral conclusions that emphasize universality, impartiality, and detachment. This is in apparent contrast to feminist philosophers who have put forth a scheme for reaching moral conclusions that gives centrality to feeling, experience, and interdependence. In the following, I show that Gandhi shares significant agreement with feminists in spite of the kinds of moral conclusions he reaches. The crucial difference between Gandhi and the feminist critics lies in how the distinctiveness of the other is understood. For Gandhi, I show, that the distinctiveness of others which evokes our affection is significant only in so far as it is a starting point that aides us in reaching the highest form of moral concern—a kind of agape (unselfish love for all)
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