Acting for Others: Moral Ontology in Simone de Beauvoir's Pyrrhus and Cineas

Simone de Beauvoir Studies 26 (2009-2010) (2010)

Tove Pettersen
University of Oslo
There are prominent resemblances between issues addressed by Simone de Beauvoir in her early essay on moral philosophy, Pyrrhus and Cineas (1944), and issues attracting the attention of contemporary feminist ethicists, especially those concerned with the ethics of care. They include a focus on relationships, interaction, and mutual dependency. Both emphasize concrete ethical challenges rooted in everyday life, such as those affecting parents and children. Both are critical of the level of abstraction and insensitivity to the situation of the moral agent in utilitarianism and Kantian ethics. And both condemn the “moral point of view,” i.e. the assumption that it is possible to speak with a universal voice on behalf of humanity. These resemblances are explored in this article.
Keywords Simone de Beauvoir  Feminist Ethics  Ethics of Care
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