Care: From Theory to Orientation and Back
Little, Margaret Olivia
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. 1998 Apr; 23(2): 190-209.
In this paper, I urge that the very real lessons Carol Gilligan's work in moral psychology offer to moral philosophy can best be appreciated if we take seriously the gap between the two disciplines. The care and justice perspectives Gilligan explores are psychological orientations, and orientations are defined as much by matters of emphasis, selectivity of interpretation, and gestalt as they are by propositional commitment. As such, I argue, their contribution to moral theory is best seen as stances from which to do theory, rather than as constituting ready-made theories themselves. In pursuing this train of thought, I examine how Gilligan's work has developed over time and how, in the end, we should understand the juxtaposition between the two orientations.
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