Sandrine Berges
Bilkent University
Proponents of care ethics tend to reject the ideals of historical republicanism and the enlightenment because they do not take into account the centrality of the roles played by carers or caregivers in society. Furthermore this is irremediable because of enlightenment’s prizing of reason over and above emotions and of independence over relationships. In this paper I argue that such a wholesale rejection is misguided because it is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the ideals of enlightenment and republicanism which did value both the emotions and relationships. I focus on the example of one feminist republican writer of the eighteenth century, Sophie de Grouchy, and argue that her response to Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments, the Letters on Sympathy provide a model for a feminist republican social reform. I discuss de Grouchy’s arguments on the relationship between sympathy and morality, and on the kind of social and political reforms which are needed in order to ensure that sympathy can operate freely as a regulator of human interactions. I also show how her claim that sympathy originates in the first human relationships, namely between a child and the woman who feeds them means that in this republican account, mothering is identified as central to the well-functioning of human society.
Keywords Conference Proceedings  Contemporary Philosophy
Categories No categories specified
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ISBN(s) 978-1-63435-038-9
DOI 10.5840/wcp23201829715
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