Feminism and the Ethics of Care

Kohllberg put forth problems and scenarios to study the moral..

Feminism and the Ethics of Care

Kohllberg put forth problems and scenarios to
study the moral development of kids, and “Heinz dilemma” is the most popular,
posing the question that should Heinz steal from the dishonest druggist to save
his dying wife? Heinz evolved six stages of moral maturity, from avoiding
punishments to making fair deals to the understanding of one’s duties to
society and family, a level of complete maturity comes with the stage of
“universal ethical principles”. Kohlberg presented the dilemma to eleven year
old Jake and Amy and concluded that Jake in favor of stealing the drug to save
a human life appeared more mature than Amy who was against stealing. Carol
Gilligan voiced her opinion against his analysis supporting Amy’s feminine and
intimate way of thinking which is no less inferior to Jake’s typical male logic
that ignores all the details and repercussions of the action. The apparent
confusion and sentimentality is its own way a moral strength in the eyes of
Gilligan who considered women as sensitive to others’ needs and caring in a
personal way. According to Virginia Held and other feminists the ethics of care
is not typically female, but it might be the psychological training or social
upbringing of a girl as a care giver, including the biological factor of
mothering that adheres the ethics of care with women. The question rises, will
moral judgments be different regarding the adoption of ethics of care or male
approach? The ethics of care is the best approach in relation to family, love
and friendship which inspire our moral conception as we naturally prefer our
family to other people. Nel Noddings believes that caring involve personal
interaction in the absence of which there is no obligation. But rationality
demands a balance between caring and obligation and that should be the ethical
code. “Virtue theory” serves both private and public life supplementing with
required virtues making ethics theory a part of it.

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