History of Ethics of Care Theory
The phrase ‘care ethics’ has its roots in feminist theory and was originally coined by psychologist Carol Gilligan. The phrase was created after a study that was conducted on how little girls look at ethics. Gilligan found that in relation to boys, the moral development of girls tended to come from compassion instead of being justice-based. From the study, Gilligan proposed that ethics should be focused on relationships instead of emphasizing autonomy and rules. Her theory focused more on our connections with each other and situations being context dependent.
Another woman, philosopher Nel Noddings, further contributed to the theory in the 1980s. Concepts of Care Ethics and Agapistic Ethics Essay. Noddings decided to focus the approach more on our intimate relationships. She felt that it was necessary to differentiate between natural caring or ‘wanting to care’ and ‘ethical caring‘ or ‘needing to care.’
For example, let’s say your aunt tells you that she’s just lost her job. You give her a hug in an act of affection. This is an example of natural caring. Now let’s say that an acquaintance tells you she just had a messy break-up with her boyfriend. You don’t know her very well. However, you believe that ‘showing you care’ is the best response, so you give her a hug. This is an example of ethical caring.
In current times, care ethics has been applied to a number of different scenarios. This includes business ethics, environmental ethics, and even animal care ethics. One of the best examples of care ethics being used in modern times is in bioethics. Professions involved in medicine specifically deal with caring for others. As a result, care ethics has become a part of assessing both medical practices and policies. Additionally, it has also been applied to a number of different social movements. Care ethics has been included in the debate about capital punishment, hospice care, and also gay marriage. Concepts of Care Ethics and Agapistic Ethics Essay.