In this article I argue that the ethics of care provides us with a novel reading of human relations, and therefore makes possible a fresh approach to several empirical challenges. In order to explore this connection, I discuss some specific normative features of the ethics of care—primarily the comprehension of the moral agent and the concept of care—as these two key elements contribute substantially to a new ethical outlook. Subsequently, I argue that the relational and reciprocal mode of thinking with (...) regard to the moral agent must be extended to our understanding of care. I term this comprehension “mature care”. Citing conflicts of interests as examples, I demonstrate how this conceptualization of care may further advance the ethics of care’s ability to take on empirical challenges. Finally, I discuss political implications that may emanate from the ethics of care and the concept of mature care. (shrink)
In Comprehending Care, Tove Pettersen subjects the ethics of care, as advanced by Carol Gilligan, to a moral-philosophical examination. More precisely, she extracts the philosophical foundation in this ethics, probes its possible implications for moral theory of a more traditional stamp, and explores its normative plausibility. Pettersen exposes several misconceptions of Gilligan's work.
In “Conceptions of Care,” Tove Pettersen discusses and articulates select ways in which care can be comprehended. Several difficulties related to an altruistic understanding of care are examined before the author presents the case for a more favorable concept: mature care. Mature care is intended to take into account the interests of both parties to the caring relationship. This understanding of care facilitates the expression of the relational and reciprocal aspects of caring while emphasizing the equal worth of all involved. (...) Also attended to is the embeddedness of care in wider cultural and political contexts. (shrink)
Beauvoir discusses various kinds of personal love in her work, including maternal love, lesbian love, friendship, and heterosexual love. In her portrayal of heterosexual love, she draws a distinction between two main types, inauthentic and authentic. Authentic love is “founded on mutual recognition of two liberties,” always freely chosen and sustained. It requires that the lovers maintain their individuality, while at the same time acknowledging each other’s differences. Inauthentic love is founded on inequality between the sexes, on submission and domination. (...) It prevents both women and men from experiencing freedom, comradeship and the joy of loving. This distinction is, I argue, applicable also to other types of love. Unlike Sartre, Beauvoir believes authentic love is possible. I contrast their respective views. Towards the end, I consider Beauvoir’s idea of authentic love in light of her concept of moral freedom, and argue that Beauvoir’s authentic love foreshadows feminist notion of “relational autonomy.”. (shrink)
In this article we elaborate on the concept of mature care, in which reciprocity is crucial. Emphasizing reciprocity challenges other comprehensions where care is understood as a one-sided activity, with either the carer or the cared for considered the main source of knowledge and sole motivation for caring. We aim to demonstrate the concept of mature care’s advantages with regard to conceptualizing the practice of care, such as in nursing. First, we present and discuss the concept of mature care, then (...) we apply the concept to two real life cases taken from the field of acute psychiatry. In the first example we demonstrate how mature care can grasp tacit reciprocal aspects in caring. In the other, we elucidate a difficulty related to the concept, namely the lack of reciprocity and interaction that affects some relationships. (shrink)
I Alderdommen (1970) fremsetter Simone de Beauvoir en filosofisk analyse av alderdom og eldre menneskers situa- sjon, og hevder at behandlingen de får er «skandaløs»; samfunnet «returnerer dem som en vare det ikke lenger er bruk for». Hun tilkjennegir et like stort engasjement mot den urett som eldre utsettes for som hun gjør i Det annet kjønn (1949) når det gjelder undertrykkelsen av kvinner. Likevel påstår Beauvoir at alderdommen først og fremst er et problem for mannen, og det har blitt (...) hevdet at Alderdommen er et verk om aldersdiskriminering hvor mannens aldringsprosess gjøres til norm – ikke et feministisk verk på linje med Det annet kjønn. I denne artikkelen argumen- terer Tove Pettersen for at det nettopp er den feministiske filosofien Beauvoir utvikler i Det annet kjønn som ligger til grunn for hennes undersøkelser av undertrykkelse og diskriminering av eldre. I tillegg demonstrerer Beauvoirs omfattende analyse av alderdommen at hverken alder eller kjønn kan studeres uavhengig av hverandre. Alder og kjønn virker sammen, og må ses i lys av den situasjon disse fenomenene fremtrer i hvor også klasse er av stor betydning. Alderdommen kan derfor leses som et verk hvor Beauvoir viser hvordan ulike former for undertrykkelse virker sammen og bidrar til marginalisering og diskriminering av eldre. Nøkkelord: Simone de Beauvoir, Alderdommen, Det annet kjønn, feministisk filosofi, Den andre, aldersdiskriminering, alderisme******* -/- In The Coming of Age (1970), Simone de Beauvoir presents a philosophical analysis of old age and the elderly’s situa- tion, and claims that the treatment they receive is “scandalous”; society ‘returns them as a commodity that is no longer needed.’ She exhibits the same level of commitment regarding the injustice to which the elderly are exposed as she does in The Second Sex (1949) when it comes to the oppression of women. Nevertheless, Beauvoir claims that old age first and foremost is a problem for men, and it has been argued that The Coming of Age is a work on age discrim- ination where the male aging process is made the norm – not a feminist work on par with The Second Sex. In thisarticle, Tove Pettersen argues that it is precisely the feminist philosophy that Beauvoir develops in The Second Sex that enables her to analyze the oppression and discrimination of the elderly. Additionally, Beauvoir's comprehensive analysis of old age demonstrates that neither age nor gender can be studied independently. Age and gender intersect, and must be be seen in light of the situation in which class is of great importance. Thus, The Coming of Age can be read as a work in which Beauvoir shows how different forms of oppression work together and contribute to the mar- ginalization and discrimination of the elderly. Keywords: Simone de Beauvoir, The Coming of Age, The Second Sex, Feminist Philosophy, The Other, Age Discrimination, Ageism. (shrink)
Med omsorgsetikken har Carol Gilligan avslørt tradisjonell moralfilosofi som en kjønnet maktdiskurs hvor etiske utfordringer og erfaringer forbundet med kvinner har blitt ignorert og devaluert. Men hva slags etisk teori er egentlig omsorgsetikken, hvordan skiller den seg fra andre etiske teorier og hva den kan yte?
This chapter discusses several possible reasons why works by women philosophers have traveled significantly less than those written by men, although women’s contributions go back to the start of European history of philosophy. Differentiating between geographic, linguistic, historic and philosophical travels, Tove Pettersen claims that gender is particularly significant with regard to historical and philosophical traveling. As the case of women philosophers clearly demonstrate, gender hampers the circulation of certain texts and inhibit transhistorical exchange of knowledge and ideas. ****** Che (...) chapitre examine plusieurs raisons possibles pour expliquer pourquoi les œuvres de femmes philosophes ont “voyage” beaucoup moins que celle des hommes, bien que la contribution des femmes remonte au début de l´histoire européenne de la philosophie. Distinguant entre plusieurs façons de voyager – géographique, linguistique, historique et philosophique –, Tove Pettersen soutient que le “genre” est un facteur particulièrement significative par rapport au voyage historique et philosophique- Comme le démontre clairement le cas des femmes philosophes, leur genre nuit á la circulation de certains textes ainsi qu’à l’échange transnational du savoir et des idées. (shrink)
Why are there so few women included in the history of philosophy? What are the consequences Why are there so few women included in the history of philosophy? What are the consequences from the fact that men have designed the vast majority of contemporary political and ethical theories? How can discrimination as well as equal treatment based on gender be philosophically justified? Are women the second sex of philosophy? And what is feminist philosophy? -/- In Philosophy’s Second Sex, Tove Pettersen (...) introduces feminist philosophy for students and others who are interested in gender, feminism and philosophy. She shows what it is, and how it can be used both in analyzing various texts and of a gendered reality. -/- Pettersen discusses Plato, Aristotle, Hume and Kant's theories of gender. A separate chapter is devoted to women's place in the philosophy of history, in which Catharine Trotter Cockburn, Sophia and Harriet Taylor are presented. Simone de Beauvoir's ethics and her views on gender differences are discussed, and both care ethics and feminist ethics are presented. Other key themes are the connection between gender, justice (local and global) and political philosophy, and the relationship between feminist philosophy, postmodernism and relativism. -/- The book is structured as a collection of essays, which can be read independently of each other. Seen together, they nevertheless reveal a development from women’s position in ancient philosophy to the challenges feminist philosophy faces in our contemporary, globalized world. (shrink)
Despite the fact that Norway is considered to be one of the most gender equal countries in the world, the proportion of women in philosophy is still low. In this article, we reflect on women's presence in Norwegian philosophy, partly based on interviews with Norwegian women philosophers from different universities. -/- We discuss the low proportion of women among students and staff in the field, investigate whether gender perspectives and feminist philosophy are present in the study of philosophy today. We (...) also identify some characteristics of the Norwegian postwar philosophy, such as diversity and openness, power struggles and gender blindness. Our material also shows that measures to improve gender balance in philosophy, has met fierce resistance. We discuss how the features of Norwegian postwar philosophy, together with direct and indirect stereotypes on gender, rationality and natural properties, has contributed to the fact that women still are a minority in Norwegian philosophy. -/- We also argue that the study of feminist philosophy and the integration of gender perspective is necessary in order to achieve gender equality in the discipline, to pave way for a new development in Norwegian philosophy, and to ensure the quality of higher education. (shrink)
Den feministiske etikken har de siste 25 årene levert moralfilosofiske bidrag som åpner for etiske analyser av nye temaer og kjønnede maktstrukturer. I den norske etikkdiskursen er det likevel sjelden at kjønn eller feministisk etikk tematiseres – til tross for flere tiår med betydelig etikksatsing. Uttrykker tausheten en usynliggjøring som opprettholder et faglig makthierarki? Eller skyldes det at feministisk etikk ikke er «ekte» filosofi, men politikk forkledd som vitenskap? I denne artikkelen diskuteres den feministiske etikkens faglige bidrag og eksistensberettigelse.
In "Existential Humanism and Moral Freedom in Simone de Beauvoir's Ethics" Tove Pettersen elucidates the close connection between Beauvoir’s ethics and humanism, and argues that her humanism is an existential humanism. Beauvoir’s concept of freedom is inspected, followed by a discussion of her reasons for making moral freedom the leading normative value, and her claim that we must act for humanity. In Beauvoir’s ethics, freedom is not reserved for the elite, but understood as everyone being “able to surpass the given (...) toward an open future.” By addressing the continuing friction between individual freedom and public interests, Beauvoir’s normative thinking remains highly relevant today. It also exemplifies the enduring importance of humanistic reflections and demonstrates how, through critical and creative thinking, the humanities can contribute to a free, well-functioning democratic society. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
This book is a novel contribution to contemporary research on Simone de Beauvoir, and a defense of the importance of the humanities. It reveals previously unexplored dimensions of Beauvoir's work by exposing her as a significant and inspiring humanist thinker. These essays argue that her works and influence testify to the transformative potential of humanistic research.
The idea behind this article is to discuss the importance and to develop the concept of reciprocity in asymmetric professional relationships. As an empirical starting point for an examination of the possible forms of reciprocity between patients and nurses in psychiatry, we chose two qualitative in-depth interviews with two different patients. The manners in which these two patients relate to medical personnel—one is dependent, the other is independent—show that this presents challenges to nurses. The theoretical context is provided by the (...) notion of mature care as it has been developed by feminist-oriented ethics of care, in contrast to the notion of altruistic care. In relation to the concept of mature care, we discuss how nursing can be perceived in demanding relationships with patients in psychiatry. Reciprocity implies that, in principle, the interests of the nurses also matter in a nurse-patient relationship. We show that reciprocity—in practice—is complicated and challenging in a number of different ways. Mature care—with its systematic inclusion of relationships and reciprocity—provides an alternative understanding of what takes place between patients and nurses compared with an altruistic notion of care. As such, mature care can be regarded as an useful paradigm for nurse-patient relationships in psychiatry. (shrink)
Over the last four decades, both ecofeminism and care ethics have profoundly theorized the link between oppression and what is viewed as Others, such as women, non-human animals and nature. After uncovering and analyzing some important commonalities and differences between these two branches of feminist ethical theories and their critiques of dominant Western philosophy and ethics, Tove Pettersen also identifies some clear thematic and methodological overlaps with Arne Johan Vetlesen’s philosophy. She explores three topics in particular where ecofeminism and care (...) ethics may benefit from an exchange, and which is also relevant to Vetlesen’s scholarship: the relationship between reason and emotion, the relational ontology, and the emphasis on lived experience. In addition to challenging traditional conceptualizations of reality, conventional value hierarchies, and established power configurations, ecofeminism and care ethics also propose alternatives to oppressive arrangements and new ideals for the future, which are also discussed in this chapter. By integrating ecofeminism and care ethics into one conversation, Pettersen argues, these theories can enhance each other’s philosophical foundations and provide a powerful framework for analyzing the interconnection between the unjustified domination of women, other Others, and nature. They can also contribute toward kindling the radical shift in mindset and urgent action that Arne Johan Vetlesen calls for in his environmental philosophy. (shrink)