Philosophisch-ethische Rezensionen
(Erscheinungsdatum der rezensierten Bücher: 20. und 21. Jahrhundert)

Virginia Held: What ethics of care is about

In her essay „The Ethics of Care“ the author states that in moralities built on the image of the independent, autonomous, rational the reality of human dependence and the morality it calls for is largely overlooked. Emotions such as sympathy, empathy, sensitivity and responsiveness are seen, in the eyes of an ethics of care, as a kind of moral emotions that need to be cultivated. And this not just in order to further the implemantation of the dictates of reason, but also to better the invastigation in what morality recommends. Moral inquiries relying entirely on reason, calculations and rationalism are seen as deficient. The manifold expressions of care and caring relations are not just to be observed and described, but in need to be recognized and estimated as a subject of moral scrutiny. Not the more abstract the reasoning about a moral problem the better, but respect to the claims of particular others with whom we share actual relationship.Those who care for others do not primarily seek to further their own individual interests, rather their interest is entangled with the persons they care for. It is not about acting for the sake of all humanity in general, but instead it is about a preservation, a promotion of an actual human relation between themselves and particular others, it's about an acting for self-and-other-together. It offers a radical transformation of society, in which the values and importance, the moral significance of caring is supported. It values our particular ties, our actual relationship, that partly constitute our identity. The autonomy sought appears within the ethics of care as a capacity to cultivate and reshape relations and not to resemble an abstract self of liberal political and moral theory. Ethics of care invites us to take responsibility and does not, in Held's eyes, as liberal individualist morality would do, focuses on how we should leave each other alone. Thus the ethics of care appears to be a deep challenge to other moral theories. It especially takes the experience of women in caring activities as central and considers a possible generalizing of its insights to other questions of morality.

Jürgen Czogalla