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)
This collection brings together fourteen contributions by authors from around the globe. Each of the contributions engages with questions about how local and global bioethical issues are made to be comparable, in the hope of redressing basic needs and demands for justice. These works demonstrate the significant conceptual contributions that can be made through feminists' attention to debates in a range of interrelated fields, especially as they formulate appropriate responses to developments in medical technology, global economics, population shifts, and poverty.
We live in a world where people travel far from home to find work and income (Segal, Elliott, and Mayadas 2010). Professionally trained individuals fly first class to countries where they find lucrative salaries as scientists, bankers, information technologists, physicians, professors, artists, and musicians (Jones 1999). Other people are not so lucky. They travel by foot, train, or boat to countries where people speak languages that are utterly foreign to them. Or they fly economy class to countries where they will (...) have to stay until they think they have earned enough money to fund their children’s education, pay off debts, or buy a family home (Postelnicu 2012, 167). Most of these travelers are female .. (shrink)
Feminism was born in controversy and it continues to flourish in controversy. The distinguished contributors to this volume provide an array of perspectives on issues including: universal values, justice and care, a feminist philosophy of science, and the relationship of biology to social theory.
When the benefits of surgery do not outweigh the harms or where they do not clearly do so, surgical interventions become morally contested. Cutting to the Core examines a number of such surgeries, including infant male circumcision and cutting the genitals of female children, the separation of conjoined twins, surgical sex assignment of intersex children and the surgical re-assignment of transsexuals, limb and face transplantation, cosmetic surgery, and placebo surgery.
In this commentary on Eva Feder Kittay's Love's Labor: Essays on Women, Equality, and Dependency, I focus on Kittay's dependency theory. I apply this theory to an analysis of women's inadequate access to high-quality, cost-effective healthcare. I conclude that while quandaries remain unresolved, including getting men to do their share of dependency work, Kittay's book is an important and original contribution to feminist healthcare ethics and the development of a normative feminist ethic of care.
Medical issues affecting health care have become everyday media events. In response to mounting public concern, growing numbers of bioethicists are being appointed to medical school faculties and public policy panels. However the ideas voiced in these forums are seldom informed by feminist perspectives. In this important book, a distinguished group of feminist scholars and activists discuss crucial bioethics topics in a feminist light. Among the subjects explored are the care/justice debates, transforming bioethics, practice, and reproduction. The book also covers (...) less commonly discussed issues, such as culturally appropriate responses to reproductive health problems in developing countries. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that a global bioethicsis possible. Specifically, I present the viewthat there are within feminist approaches tobioethics some conceptual and methodologicaltools necessary to forge a bioethics thatembraces the health-related concerns of bothdeveloping and developed nations equally. Tosupport my argument I discuss some of thechallenges that have historically confrontedfeminists. If feminists accept the idea thatwomen are entirely the same, then feministspresent as fact the fiction of the essential``Woman.'' Not only does ``Woman'' not exist,``she'' obscures important racial, ethnic,cultural, (...) and class differences among women. However, if feminists stress women'sdifferences too much, feminists lose the powerto speak coherently and cogently about genderjustice, women's rights, and sexual equality ingeneral. Analyzing the ways in which the ideaof difference as well as the idea of samenesshave led feminists astray, I ask whether it ispossible to avoid the Scylla of absolutism(imperialism, colonialism, hegemony) on the onehand and the Charybdis of relativism(postmodernism, fragmentation, Balkanization)on the other. Finally, after reflecting uponthe work of Uma Narayan, Susan Muller Okin, andMartha Nussbaum, I conclude that there is a wayout of this ethical bind. By focusing onwomen's, children's, and men's common humanneeds, it is possible to lay thefoundation for a just and caring globalbioethics. (shrink)
: Although a wide variety of feminist approaches to bioethics presently share a common feminist methodology (sometimes referred to as "raising the woman question"), they do not all share the same feminist politics, ontology, epistemology, and ethics. As a result of their philosophical differences, feminist bioethicists do not always agree on which biomedical principles, practices, and policies are best suited to serving women's interests. In other words, some feminist bioethicists insist that so-called "assisted reproduction" enhances women's procreative liberty, while others (...) claim that it does nothing of the sort. Although such disagreement among feminist bioethicists reassures the general public that the feminist "program" for bioethics is not ideologically monolithic, it also confuses the public, especially women. In order to overcome this confusion, feminist bioethicists should work toward developing the kind of shared theoretical base that will foster frequent consensus on the biomedical principles, practices, and policies most likely to serve the interests of most women in the U.S. today. (shrink)
In this paper I examine the epistemology and ethics of consensus, focusing on the ways in which decision makers use/misuse ethical expertise. The major questions I raise and tentative answers I give are the following: First, are the ‘experts’ really experts? My tentative answer is that they are bona fide experts who often represent specific interest groups. Second, is the experts' authority merely epistemological or is it also ethical? My tentative answer is that the experts' authority consists not only in (...) their command over specific matters of fact and/or value, but also in their ability to achieve ‘consensus’ about what is ‘true’/‘false’, or ‘right’/‘wrong’. Third, should the authority of expertise be limited? My tentative answer is that it should be limited in the area of facts but especially in the area of values. Persons who are ethics ‘experts’ must be particularly careful to practice an ethics of persuasion rather than an ethics of compulsion . Their role is not to force their group consensus upon decision makers' individual moral perceptions and deliberations; rather it is to help decision makers come to their own conclusions about what they ought to do. Keywords: authority of expertise, consensus, ethics committees, ethics of persuasion, NIH consensus development conferences CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Teaching bioethics in the new millennium requires its practitioners to confront a wide area of methodological alternatives. This essay chronicles the author's journey from the principlism of Beauchamp and Childress, through narrative and postmodern bioethics, to a complex feminist critique of postmodern bioethics that emphasizes functional human capabilities and the creation of structures that can facilitate free discussion of those capabilities and how best to realize them. Teaching bioethics concerns not only the acknowledgement of differences but also reminding ourselves of (...) our samenesses. Sustained Habermasian democratic conversations might help us to escape the narrow confines of a postmodern bioethics of moral strangers for a richer world of moral friends. (shrink)
This essay discusses the history of the "futility debate" and the motives that sometimes prompt health care professionals, health care providers, patients, and surrogates to take different sides in it. Changes in the health care system, financial responsibility shifts, technical medical advances, and medical care rationing are analyzed as contributors to the futility debate. So too are variations in the definition of futility examined as part of the current controversy. The respective attitudes of professionals, providers, patients, and surrogates in accepting (...) the goals, capabilities, and limits of medicine are also explored. In particular, the lack of honest communication between health care professionals/health care providers on the one hand and patients/surrogates on the other is acknowledged as a major roadblock in the building of care-focused futility policies. Finally, various initial attempts of hospitals to create futility guidelines are evaluated in order to detect problem areas and to suggest lines of improvement. Keywords: medical futility, medical decision-making, virtues, resource allocation CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The purpose of this commentary on James Nelson's article  is to advocate introducing the ethics of care into the arena of gestational conflict. Too often the debate gets stalled in a maternal versus fetal rights headlock. Interventionists stress fetal over maternal rights: they believe education, post-birth prosecution or pre-birth seizure of pregnant women may be permissible. In contrast to interventionists, other philosophers stress that favoring fetal rights treats women like fetal containers. I question whether we should really consider issues (...) of moral/parental obligations to children in terms of rights. Rather, the language of care should guide moral conduct vis-a-vis children/fetuses. The particularity of each woman's story — the particulars of her human relationships — inform her story. An individual's ability to care is largely a function of whether community cares for her. We must care for others to enable them to care for themselves and their loved ones — born or unborn. (shrink)
This article revisits the question of ectogenesis as our neonatal care and biogenetic technologies bring us closer to the possibility. In 1923, J.B.S. Haldane wrote approvingly of ectogenesis as a eugenic technique, using a science fiction format. In the 1970s and 1980s, feminists debated whether ectogenesis, if possible, would be liberating or oppressive for women. Given current legal and bioethical issues, we must now take seriously the possible costs of ectogenesis: the possibility of growing bodies for use as spare parts, (...) the erosion of the autonomy of women in the reproductive process, the denigration of the body through the loss of the physicality of pregnancy and childbirth. (shrink)
: Fins, Bacchetta, and Miller's clinical pragmatism has several appealing features: an emphasis on dialogue, a commitment to consensus, a focus on particular individuals rather than persons in general, and a strong interest in the process as well as the product of moral decision making. Nevertheless, for all its protests to the contrary, clinical pragmatism has a tendency to privilege medical facts over nonmedical values, to conflate appropriate medical decisions with right moral decisions, and to conceive problems at the bedside (...) in terms of "getting" patients and families to "go along" with the treatment plans of clinicians. In sum, there is within clinical pragmatism the potential for physicians to take back some of the power they ceded to patients during the height of the patients' rights and autonomy movement. Provided that clinicians guard against the temptation to use clinical pragmatism manipulatively, however, the method promises, more than most other methods of moral problem solving, to help increasingly diverse individuals make good moral decisions about patients' care under conditions of enormous uncertainty. (shrink)
This article revisits the question of ectogenesis (out-of-body gestation) as our neonatal care and biogenetic technologies bring us closer to the possibility. In 1923, J.B.S. Haldane wrote approvingly of ectogenesis as a eugenic technique, using a science fiction format. In the 1970s and 1980s, feminists debated whether ectogenesis, if possible, would be liberating or oppressive for women. Given current legal and bioethical issues, we must now take seriously the possible costs of ectogenesis: the possibility of growing bodies for use as (...) spare parts, the erosion of the autonomy of women in the reproductive process, the denigration of the body through the loss of the physicality of pregnancy and childbirth. (Abstract prepared by Aaron Lee.). (shrink)
Taking up the case of Jane Gallop, this paper explores whether an eroticized pedagogical style can be truly effective for teaching feminist philosophy and to what extent there exists the possibility of consensual romantic relationships between teachers and students. In a book published five years after accusations of discriminatory sexual harassment, Gallop argues that an eroticized pedagogy more effectively delivers a feminist message than non-eroticized pedagogies because it provides a context in which sexual norms can be foregrounded, challenged, and even (...) broken. By extension, Gallop argues that if any relationship between a student and a teacher can be consensual, it is one that takes place between a student and teacher who both identify as feminists since their studies so often focus on sexual norms. The author challenges this view, arguing that the vulnerability which attends being subject to evaluation structures the initial terms of engagement such that students can’t possibly enter into a romantic relationship on equal terms with their professor. In light of this imbalance of power, the author argues that eroticized pedagogies may also threaten students, giving the impression that their evaluations depend on their responses to the erotic element of their professor’s pedagogical style. (shrink)