Western philosophical tradition beyond just ethics

In this week’s module we saw that the ethics of care views human life in terms of cycles of attachment. Overlapping relations and cycles of relations make up who we are as individuals. We do not get a sense of who we are by detaching ourselves from our relations with others. This contrasts with the conception of defining the self in separation from and even opposition to others. Do you agree with the idea that we are who we are in terms of our relations, and that we are neither independent nor separate?

In the AVP for this week we also saw that Gilligan rejects Kohlberg’s assumption of a hierarchical ordering that places abstract thinking above thinking in terms of narratives involving human relations when trying to gauge the moral development of individuals. Do you see her critique as a strong one? And if so, what might the success of her critique suggest about employing similar feminist approaches to other areas of the Western philosophical tradition beyond just ethics—such as metaphysics or epistemology? These disciplines too, have tacitly assumed—at least since the Enlightenment—that genuine insight into the nature of reality and the structure of truth is to be arrived at via a penchant for abstract thinking, universalizable principles, and a strict adherence to rationality. For instance, how might a feminist, or what other philosopher’s have called a “Communitarian”, approach to the metaphysical question concerning the nature of the individual, or self—and what it means to be one—contrast with what Hobbes or Kant took the self to be?

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Ethical Choices, 2nd edition:

Introduction, pp. 249-250

The Care Perspective, pp. 253-256

Foundations of and Ethics of Care, pp. 257-260

Care and Virtue, pp. 261-262

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