Rethinking FeministEthics bridges the gap between women theorists disenchanted with aspects of traditional theories that insist upon the need for some ethical principles. The book raises the question of whether the female conception of ethics based on care, trust and empathy can provide a realistic alternative to the male ethics based on duty and rule bound conception of ethics developed from Kant, Mill and Rawls. Koehn concludes that it cannot, showing how problems for respect (...) of the individual arise also in female ethics because it privileges the caregiver over the cared for. Drawing on Socrates' Crito , she shows how an ethic of dialogue can instill a critical respect for the view of the other and the ethical principles absent from the female ethic. (shrink)
Feminist research in ethics : an introduction -- Theology in fragmented time : reflections with the concept 'postmodernism' as a starting point -- On the material spirituality of housework and its political implications -- Neither trivial nor sentimental : de-trivialization as a method in women's studies -- Power that we have; power that we need -- Women's solidarity : a value with a future -- Androcentrism and where do we go from here? : perspectives for theological reflection on (...) 'the human being' -- The minor distinction between mothers and test tubes : on the concept of women in science -- Feministethics and the ecology question -- The debate on animal experiments -- Biotechnology and ethics -- Invitation to feminist reflection on the economy -- Femaleness as social work -- From the norm of marriage to a plurality of lifestyles. (shrink)
This is a revised edition of Walker's well-known book in feministethics first published in 1997. Walker's book proposes a view of morality and an approach to ethical theory which uses the critical insights of feminism and race theory to rethink the epistemological and moral position of the ethical theorist, and how moral theory is inescapably shaped by culture and history. The main gist of her book is that morality is embodied in "practices of responsibility" that express our (...) identities, values, and connections to others in socially patterned ways. Thus ethical theory needs to be empirically informed and politically critical to avoid reiterating forms of socially entrenched bias. Responsible ethical theory should reveal and question the moral significance of social differences. The book engages with, and challenges, the work of contemporary analytic philosophers in ethics. Moral Understandings has been influential in reaching a global audience in ethics and feminist philosophy, as well as in tangential fields like nursing ethics; research ethics; disability ethics; environmental ethics, and social and political theory. This revised edition contains a new preface, a substantive postscript to Chapter 1 about "the subject of moral philosophy"; the addition of a new chapter on the importance of emotion in practices of responsibility; and the addition of an afterword, which responds to critics of the book. (shrink)
When feminist philosophers first turned their attention to traditional ethical theory, its almost exclusive emphasis upon justice, rights, abstract rationality, and individual autonomy came under special criticism. Women’s experiences seemed to suggest the need for a focus on care, empathetic relations, and the interdependence of persons.The most influential readings of what has become an extremely lively and fruitful debate are reproduced here along with important new contributions by Alison Jaggar and Sara Ruddick. As this volume testifies, there is no (...) agreement on the important questions about the relationship between justice and care, but the debate has deepened and enriched our understanding in many ways. Justice and Care is a valuable collection of readings—an essential tool for anyone studying the state of feminist thought in particular or ethical theory in general. (shrink)
Ethics: Classical Western Texts in Feminist and Multicultural Perspectives offers students a unique introduction to ethics by integrating the historical development of Western moral philosophy with both feminist and multicultural approaches. Engaging and accessible, it provides an introductory sampling of several of the classical works of the Western tradition in ethics and then situates these readings within feminist and multicultural perspectives so that they can be better understood and evaluated in our contemporary environment. While (...) some of the non-Western works parallel the views defended in the Western works (e.g., Confucius's work echoes that of Plato or Aristotle), others question the Western perspectives (e.g., American Indian works provide an interesting challenge to Western moral philosophy). Confucius, Jorge Valadez, Ward Churchill, Moshoeshoe II, and Eagle Man present multicultural perspectives to the works of Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Sartre, Rawls, MacIntyre, Korsgaard, and others. Noted feminists Christine de Pizan, Simone de Beauvoir, Carol Gilligan, Annette Baier, Susan Okin, and Rosemarie Radford Ruether also offer alternative views. Ideal for courses in introduction to ethics, history of ethics, and feministethics, Ethics: Classical Western Texts in Feminist and Multicultural Perspectives is also intriguing reading for interested general readers. (shrink)
Drawing on postmodernist analyses, Leaky Bodies and Boundaries presents a feminist investigation into the marginalization of women within western discourse that denies both female moral agency and bodylines. With reference to contemporary and historical issues in biomedicine, the book argues that the boundaries of both the subject and the body are no longer secure. The aim is both to valorize women and to suggest that "leakiness" may be the very ground for a postmodern feminist ethic. The contribution made (...) by Margrit Shildrick is to go beyond modernist feminisms to radically displace the mechanisms by which women are devalued. The anxiety that postmodernism cannot yield an ethics, nor advance feminist concerns is addressed. (shrink)
How should feminist philosophers regard the inequalities that structure the lives of women? Some of these inequalities are trivial and others are not; together they form a framework of unequal treatment that shapes women’s lives. This paper asks what priority we should give inequalities that affect women; it critically analyzes Claudia Card’s view that feminists ought to give evils priority. Sometimes ending gender-based inequalities is the best route to eliminating gender-based evil.
In this unique work, James P. Sterba argues that traditional ethics has yet to confront the three significant challenges posed by environmentalism, feminism, and multiculturalism. He maintains that while traditional ethics has been quite successful at dealing with the problems it faces, it has not addressed the possibility that its solutions to these problems are biased in favor of humans, men, and Western culture. In Three Challenges to Ethics: Environmentalism, Feminism, and Multiculturalism, Sterba examines each of these (...) challenges. In the case of environmentalism, he argues that traditional ethics must incorporate conflict resolution principles that favor nonhumans over humans in a significant range of cases. In terms of feminism, he maintains that traditional ethics should rule out gendered family structures and implement an ideal of androgyny. In regard to multiculturalism, he contends that traditional ethics must endorse an ethics that is secular in character and that can survive an extensive comparative evaluation of both Western and non-Western moral ideals and cultures. The only textbook devoted to this topic, Three Challenges to Ethics is an engaging text for introductory courses in ethics and moral problems and is also interesting and provocative reading for scholars and general readers. (shrink)
Feminists are aware of the diversity of thinking within their own tradition, and of the different approaches to moral questions in which that is manifest. This book describes and analyses that diversity by distinguishing three distinct paradigms of moral reasoning to be found within feminism. Using the writings of feminists, the major strengths and weaknesses of each theory are considered, so that creative dialogue between them can be encouraged. Three common themes are drawn out - which are also on the (...) agenda of new developments in philosophical and Christian ethics: the search for an appropriate universalism, the possibility of a redemptive community and the development of a new humanism. Feminists may be encouraged, through this account of their considerable scholarship in ethical thinking, to contribute to these changes with their special concern for the lives and the fulfilment of women. (shrink)
What kind of challenge does sexual and racial difference pose for postmodern ethics? What is the relation between ethical obligation and feminist interpretations of embodiment, passion, and eros? How can we negotiate between ethical responsibility for the Other and democratic struggles against domination, injustice, and equality, on the one hand, and internal conflicts within the subject, on the other? We cannot address such questions, Ziarek argues, without putting into dialogue discourses that have hitherto been segregated: postmodern ethics, (...) feminism, race theory, and the idea of radical democracy. Addressing a constellation of diverse thinkers - including Emmanuel Levinas, Patricia Williams, Jean-François Lyotard, Michel Foucault, Frantz Fanon, Julia Kristeva, and Luce Irigaray - the author proposes a new conception of ethics, an ethics of dissensus that rethinks the relation between freedom and obligation in a double context of embodiment and antagonism. (shrink)
Some people believe that feministethics is little more than a series of dogmatic positions on issues such as abortion rights, pornography, and affirmative action.This caricature was never true, but Alison Jaggar’s Living with Contradictions is the first book to demonstrate just how rich and complex feministethics has become. Beginning with the modest assumption that feminism demands an examination of moral issues with a commitment to ending women’s subordination, this anthology shows that one can no (...) longer divide social issues into those that are feminist and those that are not. Living with Contradictions does address many of the traditionally “feminist” issues. But it also includes issues not generally recognized as gendered, such as militarism, environmentalism, and the treatment of animals, demonstrating the value of a feminist perspective in these cases. And, far from reflecting any monolithic orthodoxy, the book shows that there is a rich diversity of views on many moral issues among those who share a feminist commitment.Readers can sample a varied selection of papers and essays from books, journals, newspapers, and grassroots newsletters. Covering a wide range of moral issues, this collection refuses to offer simple solutions, choosing instead to reflect the complexities and contradictions facing anyone attempting to live up to feminist ideals in a painfully pre-feminist world.Based on years of the editor’s work in the field, imaginatively edited, and including generous introductions for students, this is the ideal text for introducing feminist perspectives into courses in ethics, social ethics, and public policy. (shrink)
Introduction -- The ethics of care and global politics -- Rethinking human security -- 'Women's work' : the global care and sex economies -- Humanitarian intervention and global security governance -- Peacebuilding and paternalism : reading care through postcolonialism -- Health and human security : gender, care and HIV/AIDS -- Gender, care, and the ethics of environmental security -- Conclusion. Security through care.
The western philosophical tradition, with its focus on universal concepts and a presumed neuter, but ultimately male subject, has only relatively recently become open to the question of alterity, in particular the alterity of woman as the other of man. The essays of this volume reflect in particular on the ethical implications of taking the feminine other into account. This necessitates a rethinking of the implicit structures of Western philosophy which continue to exclude women as subjects who contribute to the (...) conceptualization of world and society. This volume, which gives voice to women philosophers, is a contribution to that task. (shrink)
This paper considers whether eudaimonism is necessarily an idealizing approach to ethics. I argue, contrary to what is implied by Christine Swanton, that it is not, and I suggest that a non-ideal eudaimonistic virtue ethics can be useful for feminist and critical race theorists. For eudaimonist theorists in the Aristotelian tradition, the claim that one should aim to live virtuously assumes that there will typically be good enough background conditions so that an exercise of the virtues, in (...) conjunction with these favorable external conditions, will suffice for someone to flourish both in the sense of living virtuously and in the sense of living well or living the good life. However, under some forms of oppression the background conditions will not be good enough, and thus an exercise of the virtues will often be insufficient to constitute a flourishing life. It may seem that eudaimonism, with its foregrounding of the concept of flourishing and its assumption of a tight connection between living virtuously and living well, may function as a form of ideology that elides the ways in which non-ideal and oppressive conditions can separate virtue from well-being and can make the state of flourishing (in its dual senses) unattainable. I point out that eudaimonism can be revised to incorporate the claim that virtue and flourishing may typically be unlinked, and I advocate retaining flourishing as an unattainable end, exercising the virtues even with a sense of their absurdity, and confronting the existential states of frustration and disappointment that may result. (shrink)
How has engineering ethics addressed gender concerns to date? How have the ideas of feminist philosophers and feminist ethicists made their way into engineering ethics? What might an explicitly feminist engineering ethics look like? This paper reviews some major themes in feministethics and then considers three areas in which these themes have been taken up in engineering ethics to date. First, Caroline Whitbeck’s work in engineering ethics integrates considerations from (...) her own earlier writings and those of other feminist philosophers, but does not use the feminist label. Second, efforts to incorporate the Ethic of Care and principles of Social Justice into engineering have drawn on feminist scholarship and principles, but these commitments can be lost in translation to the broader engineering community. Third, the film Henry’s Daughters brings gender considerations into the mainstream of engineering ethics, but does not draw on feministethics per se; despite the best intentions in broaching a difficult subject, the film unfortunately does more harm than good when it comes to sexual harassment education. I seek not only to make the case that engineers should pay attention to feministethics and engineering ethicists make more use of feministethics traditions in the field, but also to provide some avenues for how to approach integrating feministethics in engineering. The literature review and analysis of the three examples point to future work for further developing what might be called feminist engineering ethics. (shrink)
Stakeholder theory, as a method of management based on morals and behavior, must be grounded by a theory of ethics. However, traditional ethics of justice and rights cannot completely ground the theory. Following and expanding on the work of Wicks, Gilbert, and Freeman (1994), we believe that feministethics, invoking principles of caring, provides the missing element that allows moral theory to ground the stakeholder approach to management. Examples are given to support the suggested general principle (...) for making business decisions under feminist moral theory. (shrink)
Newcomers and more experienced feminist theorists will welcome this even-handed survey of the care/justice debate within feministethics. Grace Clement clarifies the key terms, examines the arguments and assumptions of all sides to the debate, and explores the broader implications for both practical and applied ethics. Readers will appreciate her generous treatment of the feminine, feminist, and justice-based perspectives that have dominated the debate.Clement also goes well beyond description and criticism, advancing the discussion through the (...) incorporation of a broad range of insights into a new integration of the values of care and justice. Care, Autonomy, and Justice marks a major step forward in our understanding of feministethics. It is both direct and helpful enough to work as an introduction for students and insightful and original enough to make it necessary reading for scholars. (shrink)
This paper offers a critical investigation of the theological assumptions that lie within three forms of modern feministethics, with a view to challenging feministethics to enter the new theological possibilities opened up in postmodernity for the conceiving of god. The first part of the paper considers the conceiving of god in modern feminisms, in which theology becomes ethics. The consequences of this development are considered. The second part of the paper investigates the turn (...) into postmodernity which hears the saying of the death of god and the critique of onto-theology. This disturbance to the foundations of feministethics is understood as part of a wider critique of humanism manifest particularly in gender theory. That the end of the modern human subject might allow a conceiving of god through an understanding of the performative is the restored orthodoxy to which the paper points. (shrink)
If business requires ethical solutions that are viable in the liminal landscape between concepts and corporate office, then business ethics and corporate social responsibility should offer tools that can survive the trek, that flourish in this well-traveled, but often unarticulated, environment. Indeed, feministethics produces, accesses, and engages such tools. However, work in BE and CSR consistently conflates feministethics and feminine ethics and care ethics. I offer clarification and invoke the analytic power (...) of three feminist ethicists 'in action' whose investigations into the "grey zones" of harms; identity and representational conventions; and "asymmetrical reciprocity" harmonize with business ethics' requirements. (shrink)
Should feminist ethical theories include rights as a component? There is a tension between feminist politics and the endorsement of the language of “women’s rights,” and feministethics and its critique of rights.1 In this paper I begin the project of reconciling moral theories that include rights as a component with feminist criticisms of rights. There are two parts to this project. First, I must respond to the criticisms feminists have made against rights theories in (...) order to show that it is possible for a moral theory that includes rights to be a feminist moral theory. Answering these criticisms is necessary if I am to establish that moral theories that include rights are among the candidate theories from which feminists might choose. Second, I must develop a feminist moral theory that encompasses rights, and argue for its superiority to other sorts of moral theories in order to show that a moral theory that encompasses rights is a plausible feminist moral theory. Going beyond responding to criticisms and developing a positive feminist rights theory is necessary if feminists are to find rights theories to be attractive candidate moral theories.2 In this paper I am concerned mostly with the first part of the project, responding to some feminist arguments against theorizing about morality in terms of rights, although in the course of responding to the objections I make remarks that might suggest ways in which some rights theories might be developed as feminist moral theories. (shrink)
There are at least two models of what it is to be a feminist ethicist or moral philosopher. One model requires that one accept a distinctively feminist ethical theory. I will argue against this model by arguing that since the concept of a feminist ethical theory is highly unclear, any claim that ethicists who are feminist need one is also unclear and inadequately defended. I will advocate what I call a "minimal model" of feminist (...) class='Hi'>ethics, arguing that it is philosophically and practically sufficient to meet feminist goals. (shrink)
Feministethics supports the contemporary educational trend toward increased multiculturalism and a diminished emphasis on the Western canon. First, I outline a feminist ethical justification for this development. Second, I argue that Western canon studies should not be altogether abandoned in a multicultural curriculum. Third, I suggest that multicultural education should help combat oppression in addition to simply promoting awareness of diversity. Fourth, I caution against an arrogant moralism in the teaching of multiculturalism.
In this paper, I explore a confrontation between Husserl’s ethical position of vocation and its absolute ought with a feminist ethical position. I argue that Husserl’s ethics has a great deal to offer a feministethics by providing for the possibility of an ethics that is particular rather than universal, that recognizes the role of the social through tradition in establishing values and norms without conceding the ethical responsibility of the individual, and that acknowledges the (...) role of both reason and desire in establishing moral values that has the consequence of breaking down the public/private distinction that has reigned in so many ethical theories. In order to make this case, I proceed with a review of Husserl’s position of the absolute ought, some typical criticisms that might be leveled at his position, and finally, responses to those criticisms that show ways in which Husserl’s position can be beneficial to the formulation of a feministethics that is inclusive of the emotional aspect of moral valuation, and the particularity of ethical commitments, while providing for a different way of evaluating thinking that accommodates what are usually understood to be “feminine” concerns. In addition to describing Husserl’s position, I show how that position meets some of the expectations for a feministethics as put forth by Iris Marion Young and Sara Ruddick. (shrink)
: Antiracist white feminists and ecofeminists have the tools but lack the strategies for responding to issues of social and environmental justice cross-culturally, particularly in matters as complex as the Makah whale hunt. Distinguishing between ethical contexts and contents, I draw on feminist critiques of cultural essentialism, ecofeminist critiques of hunting and food consumption, and socialist feminist analyses of colonialism to develop antiracist feminist and ecofeminist strategies for cross-cultural communication and cross-cultural feministethics.
This article compares Confucian ethics of Jen and feministethics of care. It attempts to show that they share philosophically significant common grounds. Its findings affirm the view that care-orientation in ethics is not a characteristic peculiar to one sex. It also shows that care-orientation is not peculiar to subordinated social groups. Arguing that the oppression of women is not an essential element of Confucian ethics, the author indicates the Confucianism and feminism are compatible.
Many feminist philosophers have been highly critical of Kant’s ethics, either because of his rationalism or because of particular claims he makes about women in his writings on anthropology and political philosophy. In this paper, I call attention to the aspects of Kant’s ethical theory that make it attractive from a feminist standpoint. Kant’s duties to oneself are rich resource for feminism. These duties require women to act in ways that show respect for themselves as rational human (...) agents by, e.g., avoiding servility, self-deception, self-mutilation, and sexual self-degradation, and cultivating their natural talents (as well as their virtue). Duties to others demand that other people treat women respectfully by requiring that they avoid mocking, degrading, or acting arrogantly toward others. Indeed, even when one sets out to promote others’ happiness, Kant’s ethics requires that one not act paternalistically. Kant’s ethics insists that every rational agent recognize the equality and dignity of all rational agents. Thus, it pushes women to respect themselves and to demand respect from others; and it pushes men to respect women as a basic moral requirement. (shrink)
I distinguish two ways that a cultural practice may be inherently objectionable. I reject the claim that polygamy is inherently "vicious" because asymmetric marriages are inevitably inegalitarian. I argue that there is good reason to think polygamy is inherently "bankrupt" insofar as a cultural ideal of asymmetric marriage presupposes stereotypical gender roles.
In this essay, I trace the development of Julia Kristeva's theory and practice of "the subject in process/on trial" from her semiotic works of the 1960s to her psychoanalytic writings of the 1970s and 1980s. I read Kristeva's exploration of this "subject in process/on trial" as contributing to a postmodern feministethics.
The suggestion here is that casting the project of feministethics in confrontational language, rooted in a rebellion picture of moral epistemology, impedes the further development of that very project. Four commonplace examples are offered to make this suggestion plausible. I urge instead a pluralistic approach to styles of moral thinking and propose that the project of feministethics would be better served by casting it in the language of reconciliation.
In a comment on my paper, "Moral Understandings: Alternative Epistemology for a FeministEthics" (1989) Ralph Lindgren questions the wisdom of confrontational rhetoric in my paper and much feminist moral philosophy, and the consistency of this stance with pluralism about ethics. I defend both the rebellious rhetoric and the inclusivity of my own approach, but suggest that pluralism in moral philosophy is harder to define than Lindgren's comments suggest.
: This essay attempts to show that sophisticated consequentialism is able to accommodate the concerns that have traditionally been raised by feminist writers in ethics. Those concerns have primarily to do with the fact that consequentialism is seen as both too demanding of the individual and neglectful of the agent's special obligations to family and friends. Here, I argue that instrumental justification for partiality can be provided, for example, even though an attitude of partiality is not characterized itself (...) in instrumental terms. (shrink)
In this paper I compare two very different deployments of love in ethics. Swami Vivekananda's concept of ethical love ties into the project of constructing an alternative masculinity for a colonized people; while feminist care ethics uses love to escape the perceived masculinity of traditional ethical theory. Using Kenneth Goodpaster's distinction between ‘framework questions’ and ‘application questions,’ I try to show that love in Practical Vedanta addresses the former while feminist care ethics concerns itself with (...) the latter. Even though this difference, I suggest, could be a function of their varying historical-political contexts, the two issues need to be taken together for a more complete understanding of the ethical subject. (shrink)
The feminist conception of discourse offered below differs from classical discourse ethics. Arguing that inequalities of power are even more conspicuous in global than in local contexts, I note that a global discourse community seems to be emerging among feminists, and I explore the role played by small communities in feminism's attempts to reconcile a commitment to open discussion, on the one hand, with a recognition of the realities of power inequalities, on the other.
Feminist discussions of ethics in the Western philosophical tradition range from critiques of the substance of dominant moral theories to critiques of the very practice of "doing ethics" itself. I argue that these critiques really target a certain historically specific model of ethics and moral theory-a "theoretical-juridical" one. I outline an "expressive-collaborative" conception of morality and ethics that could be a politically self-conscious and reflexively critical alternative.
Work on representing women's voices in ethics has produced a vision of moral understanding profoundly subversive of the traditional philosophical conception of moral knowledge. I explicate this alternative moral "epistemology," identify how it challenges the prevailing view, and indicate some of its resources for a liberatory feminist critique of philosophical ethics.
The author applies a feminist analysis to animal advocacy initiatives in which gendered and racialized representations of female sexuality are paramount. Feminists have criticized animal advocates for opposing the oppression of nonhuman animals through media images that perpetuate female objectification. These critiques are considered through a close examination of two prominent campaigns by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). The author argues that some representations of female sexuality may align with a posthumanist feminist ethic and need (...) not be read as sexist. Examining PETA’s famous anti-fur ads and the more recent Milk Gone Wild campaign, the author identifies where PETA’s campaigns are objectionable under a feminist ethic and where they are subversive of an anthropocentric and male-dominated order alike. The article thus recuperates part of PETA’s work from feminist critiques, but also reveals the constructions posthumanist advocacy should exclude to avoid elevating the status of nonhuman animals at the expense of women. (shrink)
Sharge explores the moral pemises of feminist sexual politics, focusing in particular on the emotive issues of abortion, prostitution and adultery, in order to develop an interpretative and pluralist approach to feministethics.
Caring extends and challenges recent debates over feministethics by taking issue with accounts of the ethics of care which try to pin down the "principles" of caring, rather than understanding the practice of caring. It explores four main caring practices: mothering, friendship, nursing and citizenship. Bowden's consideration of the differences and similarities in these working practices reveals the complexity of the ethics of caring.
In The Bodies of Women , Rosalyn Diprose argues that traditional approaches to ethics both perpetuate and remain blind to the mechanisms of the subordination of women. She shows that injustice against women begins in the ways that social discourses and practices place women's embodied existence as improper and secondary to men. She intervenes into debates about sexual difference, ethics, philosophies of the body and theories of self in order to develop a new ethics which places sexual (...) difference at the very center of meaning. Diprose analyzes attempts in both feminist and non-feministethics to recognize the role of sexual difference. She critiques biomedical discourses whose descriptions mask a constitution and regulation of "the body." Drawing on insights from continental philosophy and feminist theory, The Bodies of Women includes critical readings of Hegel, Nietzsche, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida and Foucault as well as productive engagementwith contemporary feminist scholars such as Irigaray, Cornell and Young. What emerges is a unique approach to the ethics of sexual difference which both locates and subverts mechanisms of sexual discrimination. (shrink)
Introduction -- Feminism and partial values -- The impossibility of perfection -- Alternative views -- Perfection, moral dilemmas, and moral cost -- Connections with care ethics and romanticism -- Relational profiles of goods and virtues -- Conclusion -- Appendix. Men's philosophy, women's philosophy.
The mainstream literature on corporate governance is based on the premise of conflicts of interest in a competitive game played by variously defined stakeholders and thus builds explicitly and/or implicitly on masculinist ethical theories. This article argues that insights from feministethics, and in particular ethics of care, can provide a different, yet relevant, lens through which to study corporate governance. Based on feminist ethical theories, the article conceptualises a governance model that is different from the (...) current normative orthodoxy. (shrink)
A feminist perspective on selfhood – bound to a perspective on otherness – is the main concern of this article. The resonance of this notion of selfhood both with ethical philosophy and with the language of humanism enables a deeper understanding of a feministethics as well as its internal tensions. The article considers the relationship of feminism and humanism as one of “paradoxical fluidity” rather than antithetical polarization, to explore the ways in which feminism’s alliance with (...) contemporary ethics exemplifies its paradoxical relation to humanism. The study then underlines the vital contribution of feminist discourse to an ethical understanding of selfhood and intersubjectivity. Finally, it examines the work of experimental Canadian poet Lola Lemire Tostevin, who reveals the importance of an ethical, feminist version of selfhood that highlights the insufficiency as well as the potential of both humanist and postmodern versions of subjectivity. (shrink)
Virginia Held assesses the ethics of care as a promising alternative to the familiar moral theories that serve so inadequately to guide our lives. The ethics of care is only a few decades old, yet it is by now a distinct moral theory or normative approach to the problems we face. It is relevant to global and political matters as well as to the personal relations that can most clearly exemplify care. This book clarifies just what the (...) class='Hi'>ethics of care is: what its characteristics are, what it holds, and what it enables us to do. It discusses the feminist roots of this moral approach and why the ethics of care can be a morality with universal appeal. Held examines what we mean by "care," and what a caring person is like. Where other moral theories demand impartiality above all, the ethics of care understands the moral import of our ties to our families and groups. It evaluates such ties, focusing on caring relations rather than simply on the virtues of individuals. The book proposes how such values as justice, equality, and individual rights can "fit together" with such values as care, trust, mutual consideration, and solidarity. In the second part of the book, Held examines the potential of the ethics of care for dealing with social issues. She shows how the ethics of care is more promising than Kantian moral theory and utilitarianism for advice on how expansive, or not, markets should be, and on when other values than market ones should prevail. She connects the ethics of care with the rising interest in civil society, and considers the limits appropriate for the language of rights. Finally, she shows the promise of the ethics of care for dealing with global problems and seeing anew the outlines of international civility. (shrink)
Feminist bioethics is committed to recognizing the way that power differentials arising from differences in social location shape health and health care, and also to ensuring that women's experiences inform bioethical analyses (Sherwin 1992, 1998; Scully et al. 2010). Yet there may be a tension between these two points of emphasis, not because they are incompatible but because they require very different perspectives. In this article, I argue that feminist analyses of the relationship between gender and mental disorder (...) have tended to emphasize the effects of women's relative lack of social power, with the result that women who experience mental disorders tend to be viewed as passive victims of oppression. I then .. (shrink)
In the current global care regime, care shortages in wealthy nations such as the United States, Canada, Italy, and Hong Kong are being addressed through the global supply of cheap migrant care labor from less wealthy nations. This paper argues that Feminist Care Ethics has a great deal to offer in the analysis of this global care regime. Joan Tronto's own critiques of the migration of care workers have focused on analogies between workers and imported slaves: both are (...) intrinsically exploited, vulnerable, excluded, and stigmatized. She argues that this situation undermines human virtue and the possibility of adequate care, and she advocates instead a model wherein caregiving is seen as a basis for .. (shrink)
There is a long-standing claim within feminist literature that women speak with a 'different voice' (Gilligan 1982), that it is both possible and desirable to have an ethics from the standpoint of women (Noddings 1990), that the standpoint of women is a better starting point for adequate knowledge of the world (Harding 1993). This claim is central to ecofeminist politics, that women have a particular perspective on the relationship between humanity and nature and have a moral/political calling to (...) reweave the world (Diamond and Orenstein 1990) or heal the wounds of an ecologically destructive social order (Plant 1989). In this essay I will not be making the claim that women per se have a superior vision or a higher moral authority, but that an ethics that does not take account of the gendered nature of society is doomed to failure as it will confront neither the material structure of human society or the way in which that structure impacts on the materiality of the relationship between humanity and nature. (shrink)
Lisa Tessman's Burdened Virtues is a deeply original and provocative work that engages questions central to feminist theory and practice, from the perspective of Aristotelian ethics. Focused primarily on selves who endure and resist oppression, she addresses the ways in which devastating conditions confronted by these selves both limit and burden their moral goodness, and affect their possibilities of flourishing. She describes two different forms of "moral trouble" prevalent under oppression. The first is that the oppressed self may (...) be morally damaged, prevented from developing or exercising some of the virtues; the second is that the very conditions of oppression require the oppressed to develop a set of virtues that carry a moral cost to those who practice them--traits that Tessman refers to as "burdened virtues." These virtues have the unusual feature of being disjoined from their bearer's own well being. Tessman's work focuses on issues that have been missed by many feminist moral theories, and her use of the virtue ethics framework brings feminist concerns more closely into contact with mainstream ethical theory. This book will appeal to feminist theorists in philosophy and women's studies, but also more broadly, ethicists and social theorists. (shrink)
This article explores the ethics of access in relation to globalization, feminism and information society. It argues that the virtual settings of information and communication technologies (ICTs) are beginning to place significant emphasis on sociospatial as well as geospatial understandings of the world and the interactions that take place within it. The article examines the extreme material and other associated inequalities of contemporary globalization, and the concentration of technological development and power in the rich economies. Historical developments related to (...) these factors are discussed, including the gendered nature of technologies and social processes shaping their production, application and use. It is argued that feminist theory and practice is relevant to broad debates about inequality of access in the information age, as well as to those concentrating specifically on gender and women. The tension between liberal/neoliberal focus on 'equality' and the 'grotesque' levels of contemporary inequality is raised. It is argued that feminism's long-standing and extensive critique of the problematic masculinist and partial nature of liberal/neoliberal theory, and its framing of agency, offers a major contribution in addressing this. Cyberfeminism works in theory and practice on horizontal networks and consciousness-raising about their potential, arguing that the era of the cybercitizen raises new and important risks of marginalization, on the basis of gender and other factors, and new forms of empowerment. (shrink)
Feministethics and medical ethics are critical of contemporary moral theory in several similar respects. There is a shared sense of frustration with the level of abstraction and generality that characterizes traditional philosophic work in ethics and a common commitment to including contextual details and allowing room for the personal aspects of relationships in ethical analysis. This paper explores the ways in which context is appealed to in feminist and medical (...) class='Hi'>ethics, the sort of details that should be included in the recommended narrative approaches to ethical problems, and the difference it makes to our ethical deliberations if we add an explicitly feminist political analysis to our discussion of context. It is claimed that an analysis of gender is needed for feminist medical ethics and that this requires a certain degree of generality, i.e. a political understanding of context. (shrink)
On ethics and gender -- Feminism as an ethics of gender -- Is ethics a man's subject? -- The matter of bodies -- The subject of language -- The power of agency -- Engendering ethics -- Conceiving of difference -- Subjected in hope -- For love of God.
In this re-visioning, business ethics would integrate feminist theories and pedagogy which include the diversity of women in terms of race/ethnicity, class and sexual orientation, thereby expanding its coverage to include issues of power, gender, cultural and theoretical conceptualizations, both in the conceptualization of morality, as well as in ethical constructs of analysis. My research indicates that the integration of feminist scholarship, ethics and pedagogy would make it possible to teach ethical decision making, and ultimately increase (...) the likelihood of ethical behavior, by showing students how to harness the multi-cultural ways of thinking needed to resolve ever more complex organizational problems.Use of the four-stage model I propose would effectively address the three major issues which make teaching business ethics in a new way to critical. The curricula, as modified, would present enriched ethical theories which are contextual and grounded in experience and which grant the connected nature of all organizational stakeholders. By recreating personal identity, autonomy and power as a theories of community, teaching its responsible use would be easier. Expanding the definition of business ethics to include authenticity and mutuality would move it beyond "social responsibility" to a model of interrelationship which encourage principled thinking leading to more ethical behavior. By combing empirically connected ethical theories, and conflict resolution techniques, ethical precepts can be molded into more usable curriculum models. (shrink)
"M. F. Simone Roberts's A Poetics of Being-Two is animated by a lively and engaging voice, drawing readers in with a sense of serious purpose working (delightfully) in tandem with a sense of humor. Roberts's aesthetics and her close readings of Yves Bonnefoy, St-John Perse, and Jorie Graham clearly demonstrate the literary effectiveness of Irigarayan sexual difference as an analytic trope, even as they emphasize the philosophical and political possibilities sexual difference opens up for feminism, environmentalism, and all levels of (...) contemporary cultural critique and activism."—Gail M. Schwab, Hofstra University -/- In An Ethics of Sexual Difference, Irigaray calls for a new poetics in the sense of both art and life. Rather than a critique from within philosophy, A Poetics of Being-Two tests Irigaray's ethics by extending it to other sites of cultural production. Where Irigaray's method finds stirrings and repressions of sexual difference in philosophy, this project explores that tension in poetics. Building from Irigaray's ethics, the book describes a poetics of being-two as concerns gendered subjectivity in literary poetics and then traces the on-going emergence of a poetics of being-two in the post-symbolist poetic tradition. Irigaray scholars will be interested in the sustained interpolation of Irigaray's ethical concepts as principles for a critical aesthetics and in their hermeneutic application in reading a literary tradition. Readers in comparative literature will find the first sustained feminist engagements with the major French poets Bonnefoy and Perse and an elucidation of their influence on the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Jorie Graham. (shrink)
This paper looks at a range of metaphors used within HIV/AIDS discussions and research in support of the claim that bioethicists should pay serious attention to metaphors. Metaphors shape the ways we think about problems and the types of solutions we investigate. HIV/AIDS is an especially rich field for the investigation of metaphor, since the struggles for dominance among different metaphorical options has been very evident. In the field of medical resarch as well as in the area of public policy, (...) different metaphors support different strategies and, therefore, the choice of metaphor has ethical significance. I argue that feminists should engage in these debates since they have an interest in the metaphors selected. They can also learn to be more self-conscious in choosing politically liberating metaphors in other bioethics contexts. (shrink)
This essay discusses the origins, biases, and effects on contemporary discussions of economics and ethics of the unexamined use of the metaphor an economy is a machine. Both neoliberal economics and many critiques of capitalist systems take this metaphor as their starting point. The belief that economies run according to universal laws of motion, however, is shown to be based on a variety of rationalist thinking that – while widely held – is inadequate for explaining lived human experience. (...) class='Hi'>Feminist scholarship in the philosophy of science and economics has brought to light some of the biases that have supported the mechanistic worldview. Possible alternatives to the an economy is a machine include an economy is a creative process and an economy is an organism. Such metaphors are intellectually defensible as guides to scientific inquiry and provide a richer ground for moral imagination. (shrink)
In this paper I seek to distinguish a feminist virtue ethics of care from (1) justice ethics, (2) narrative ethics, (3) care ethics and (4) virtue ethics. I also connect this contemporary discussion of what makes a virtue ethics of care feminist to eighteenth and nineteenth century debates about male, female, and human virtue. I conclude that by focusing on issues related to gender - primarily those related to the systems, structures, and (...) ideologies that create and sustain patterns of male domination and female subordination - we can begin to appreciate that true care and bona-fide virtue can flourish only in societies that treat all persons with equal respect and consideration. (shrink)
Feminists have indicated the inadequacies of bioethical debates about human embryonic stem cell research, which have for the most part revolved around concerns about the moral status of the human embryo. Feminists have argued, for instance, that inquiry concerning the ethics and politics of human embryonic stem cell research should consider the relations of social power in which the research is embedded. My argument is that this feminist work on stem cells is itself inadequate, however, insofar as it (...) has not incorporated an analysis of disability into its considerations of the ethical and political issues that surround the phenomena. Thus, I consider claims that disability theorists and anti-disability activists have made about the research. I conclude by indicating that stem cell research must be situated within a cultural matrix that operates in the service of normalisation. (shrink)
While care ethics has frequently been criticized for lacking an account of autonomy, this paper argues that care ethics' relational model of moral agency provides the basis for criticizing the philosophical tradition's model of autonomy and for rethinking autonomy in relational terms. Using Diana Meyers's account of autonomy competency as a basis, a dialogical model of autonomy is developed that can respond to internal and external critiques of care ethics.
In this essay I examine the relevance of the vocabulary of an ethics of care to ecofeminism. While this vocabulary appears to offer a promising alternative to moral extensionism and deep ecology, there are problems with the use of this vocabulary by both essentialists and conceptualists. I argue that too great a reliance is placed on personal lived experience as a basis for ecofeminist ethics and that the concept of care is insufficiently determinate to explicate the meaning of (...) care for nature. (shrink)
: Hipparchia's use of exile as an ethical and rhetorical space from which to critique convention is the point of departure for an examination of the ethics of using exile as a rhetorically effective position for feminist theorizing. To address the ethical problems involved in using exile as a rhetorical space, I argue for a reading of exile as both a rhetorical and embodied space that can maintain an ethical anchor for feminist rhetorical and political practice.
At two fronts I defend my 1994 article. I argue that differences between Confucian jen ethics and feminist care ethics do not preclude their shared commonalities in comparison with Kantian, utilitarian, and contractarian ethics, and that Confucians do care. I also argue that Confucianism is capable of changing its rules to reflect its renewed understanding of jen, that care ethics is feminist, and that similarities between Confucian and care ethics have significant implications.
I explore some new directions-suggested by feminism-for medical ethics and for philosophical ethics generally. Moral philosophers need to confront two issues. The first is deciding which moral issues merit attention. Questions which incorporate the perspectives of women need to be posed-e.g., about the unequal treatment of women in health care, about the roles of physician and nurse, and about relationship issues other than power struggles. "Crisis issues" currently dominate medical ethics, to the neglect of what I call (...) "housekeeping issues." The second issue is how philosophical moral debates are conducted, especially how ulterior motives influence our beliefs and arguments. Both what we select-and neglect-to study as well as the "games" we play may be sending a message as loud as the words we do speak on ethics. (shrink)
Dewey provides an ethics that is committed to those aspects of experience that have been associated with the "feminine." In addition to an argument against the devaluation of the affective and of concrete relationships, we also find in Dewey's ethics a thoughtful appreciation of how and why these things are essential to our moral life. In this article I consider the importance of the affective and of relationships in Dewey's ethics and set out aspects of Dewey's (...) class='Hi'>ethics that might be useful resources for feminist writers in ethics. (shrink)
A critically revised Aristotelian-based virtue ethics has something potentially useful to offer to those engaged in analyzing oppression and creating liberatory projects. A critical virtue ethics can help clarify one of the ways in which oppression interferes with flourishing; specifically, it helps clarify an aspect of oppression that can be called "moral damage.".
Contemporary philosophical discourse on global responsibility has sustained a nearly unwavering focus on justice. In response, I investigate an underrepresented element in global justice discussions: insights from feminist philosophy, and more specifically, from the ethics of care. I assess current theories of cosmopolitanism, criticizing the shortcomings of cosmopolitan justice from the perspective of cosmopolitan care. Through the concepts of dependence, vulnerability, and need, I develop a feminist global obligation--the global duty to care--and explore the distinctive vision it (...) offers as the ground and content of a feminist theory of global responsibility. (shrink)