Chapter 12. Feminism
Section 3. Problems with Feminist Ethics


1. Some philosophers argue that the ethic of care is based on traditional women's values in a quest for new virtues.

2. Beings other than women may not agree because humans often only understand what they can relate to. Thus ethics of care could not serve to resolve conflicts involving people who do not relate to the orientation of caring.

3. Gender free morality may be impossible, according to Nel Noddings. Traditional philosophers believed that women were inferior to men and female goddesses were involved in silence, obedience and service. These female roles can be shaped into an ethic of care according to many women philosophers. In so doing ethics becomes gender based and the ethic of care would not be applicable to those who are not of the female gender.

4. It is politically imprudent to associate women with the value of care.  It relieves others of any sense or obligation of care.

5. The theory ultimately disempowers women.  While women act based on caring non-females can act based on rights and duties or utility or some other basic principle and avoid dealing with women because theirs is not an ethic of rights or duties and thus they need not be afforded such.

6. A  person cannot truly care for someone if she is economically, socially, and/or psychologically coerced to do so.  So how would the ethics of caring be exercised or realized by such persons?

7. Criticizes the inconsistency of modernism but hold inconsistent norms themselves.

8. Stresses the irrational.  The Ethics of Caring is based on feelings and can be exercised despite evidence against continued caring and even when continued caring produces harm for the care provider.

9. Feminists contradict themselves by relinquishing truth claims in their own writings. There are no rational arguments in support of an ethic of caring that employs truth claims that can be verified.

10.Calls for behavior that is tailored to each individual situation. If this is the case, then there is no true theory of ethical behavior because you are changing your view of what is acceptable and what is not to suit your needs at the time. 

11.Feminist theories do not allow for the natural tendencies of men. They do to men exactly what they claim was wrongly done to women for centuries.

12. Cared based approach clouds the basic moral code. Emotions and feelings make it easy to break any moral codes when the person cares and doing so violates the codes.

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Copyright Stephen O Sullivan and Philip A. Pecorino  2002. All Rights reserved.

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