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Lesson 5

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  • 1. A Feminist View ofA Feminist View of EthicsEthics And the role of FriendshipAnd the role of Friendship
  • 2. Ethics of CareEthics of Care  Carol Gilligan’s work on the ‘Carol Gilligan’s work on the ‘ethics of careethics of care ’’ characterizes experiences or women, instead ofcharacterizes experiences or women, instead of the ‘the ‘ethics of justice and rightsethics of justice and rights ’’  Ethics of care holds that ‘sympathy’ and ‘caring’Ethics of care holds that ‘sympathy’ and ‘caring’ should be the most important virtues and shouldshould be the most important virtues and should ground morality.ground morality.  Instead of moral obligations, people (but mostInstead of moral obligations, people (but most importantly women) take a caring response in allimportantly women) take a caring response in all situations to be the basis of their morality.situations to be the basis of their morality.
  • 3. Care of JusticeCare of Justice  Are we perpetrating sex oppression if weAre we perpetrating sex oppression if we designate ethics of care to ALL womendesignate ethics of care to ALL women and ethics of justice to ALL men?and ethics of justice to ALL men?  Are we correct to say that one is betterAre we correct to say that one is better than the other?than the other?  Perhaps we need a different basis forPerhaps we need a different basis for morality.morality.
  • 4. Women’s positionWomen’s position  Historically, women have been designatedHistorically, women have been designated to be the caretakers in patriarchal society.to be the caretakers in patriarchal society.  This might have lead women to developThis might have lead women to develop and foster relationships and friendships inand foster relationships and friendships in a different way than men did.a different way than men did.  Should we maybe think about morality inShould we maybe think about morality in terms of that? In terms of ‘relationships’,terms of that? In terms of ‘relationships’, rather than justice and care?rather than justice and care?
  • 5. Women- special goodnessWomen- special goodness  Women are often cited as having aWomen are often cited as having a specialspecial quality of ‘goodnessquality of ‘goodness ’ about them: they are’ about them: they are caring, sensitive to otherscaring, sensitive to others  Schopenhauer: “The very thought of seeingSchopenhauer: “The very thought of seeing women administer justice raises a laugh.”women administer justice raises a laugh.”  ““Women are much less capable toWomen are much less capable to understanding and sticking to universalunderstanding and sticking to universal principles”. But their virtues of ‘lovingkindness’principles”. But their virtues of ‘lovingkindness’ surpass men. The origin of this virtue is :surpass men. The origin of this virtue is : intuition.intuition.
  • 6. KantKant  According to Kant, women can’t stick toAccording to Kant, women can’t stick to principles. Because they follow theirprinciples. Because they follow their feelings and sensations more.feelings and sensations more.  For Kant, morality is based on principles,For Kant, morality is based on principles, even good women lack moral character.even good women lack moral character.
  • 7. Different but Valuable?Different but Valuable?  Does the view that women have a betterDoes the view that women have a better ability to ‘care’ present a ‘romantic picture’ability to ‘care’ present a ‘romantic picture’ of women?of women?  Do women under such view becomeDo women under such view become morally deformed and oppressed?morally deformed and oppressed?  Do uneducated, powerless and abusedDo uneducated, powerless and abused women have a special kind of goodness?women have a special kind of goodness?
  • 8. Two ethicsTwo ethics  It appears that we have two opposingIt appears that we have two opposing views of ethics: ‘women’s ethics’ andviews of ethics: ‘women’s ethics’ and ‘men’s ethics’.‘men’s ethics’.  This doesn’t seem right.This doesn’t seem right.  When we take ‘friendship’ as the basis ofWhen we take ‘friendship’ as the basis of morality, we find that in it both ‘fairness’morality, we find that in it both ‘fairness’ and ‘caring’ are present.and ‘caring’ are present.
  • 9. FriendshipFriendship  A good friendship is about fair divisionA good friendship is about fair division  It requires responsivenessIt requires responsiveness  In friendship we have not need for justiceIn friendship we have not need for justice (Aristotle)(Aristotle)  That is, if justice suggests enforcement ofThat is, if justice suggests enforcement of some rules.some rules.
  • 10. FriendshipFriendship  Being connected and caring for womenBeing connected and caring for women can lead to low self-esteem.can lead to low self-esteem.  But if we take friendship as the basicBut if we take friendship as the basic value, and if we identify ourselves throughvalue, and if we identify ourselves through friendship, we strengthen our self-esteem.friendship, we strengthen our self-esteem.  Formal, informal, personal relationshipsFormal, informal, personal relationships are the building blocks of our lives. So,are the building blocks of our lives. So, friendship seems to be a good candidatefriendship seems to be a good candidate to learn more about moral theory.to learn more about moral theory.

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