Wednesday, December 28, 2022

The Ethics of Care

This month's Audible credit has gone on In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development by Carol Gilligan.

Prodnose: And it is all Sean's fault for writing The Englishwoman?

Yes. Do your remember that recently, I have been pondering if not positing (Icons passim) a longstanding female moral tradition that we may trace from The Three Marys at the Crucifixion, via the Medieval anchoresses to, say, Edith Stein, Simone Weil, and even Elizabeth Anscombe in the 20th century?

Prodnose: No.

It has struck me of late, that the "ethics of care;" a feminist approach that challenges traditional moral theories as male-centric and problematic to the extent they omit or downplay values and virtues usually culturally associated with women or with roles that are often cast as ‘feminine' may be considered as part of the same stream. Thus Ms Gilligan's book, widely credited as kick starting the movement is relevant.

Prodnose (looking like a fool): Ah yes, of course very much so.

Can we not find analogues in Simone Weil's radical conception of attention, or in Edith Stein’s phenomenology of sensual and emotional empathy?

Prodnose (ungraciosuly): I s'pose.

Myself (lighting pipe and impersonating Tony Hopkins as CS Lewis in Shadowlands): The English term “empathy,” in fact, was coined only in 1908 as a translation of the German Einfühlung, which literally means “in-feeling.” Stein's 1917 dissertation  is increasingly discussed and viewed as one the most nuanced phenomenological accounts, on a par with Husserl’s and Scheler’s analyses. Edith Stein? That'll be St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (1891-1942) to you, young fella me lad.

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