Feminist Approach to Moral Decision Making

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Feminist Approach to Moral Decision Making While ethics theories often focus on justice, care, an "equally valid moral perspective," is usually disregarded because of male bias (Sterba, p. 52). The two perspectives are often harmonious, but a need for care point of view precedence exists. While truth is evident in both these statements, the problem of distinguishing between them becomes apparent soon after. Many feminist look to psychologist Carol Gilligan's research for evidence to confirm the difference between characteristically male and female approaches to moral decision making. Her research illustrated how men almost unfailingly focus on justice when making moral decisions and women use justice and care in equal proportions in their moral judgments. While men and women take different paths with their moral judgments, there is no justifiable basis to put one above the other. Ethics theories usually focus on justice alone. Gilligan concluded that care, something just as important, is usually disregarded in the interests of the male partiality present in the male creators of many ethical theories. Gilligan examines the male justice perspective saying, "From a justice perspective, the self as moral agent stands as the figure against a ground of social relationships judging the conflicting claims of self and others against a standard of equality or equal respect (the Categorical Imperitive, the Golden Rule)" (cited in Sterba p.52). The male moral perspective of justice is chiefly rooted in principles and rules, tending to deny the role of feelings and emotions. This sentiment is predominant in moral theories and echoes a male bias, according to Sterba and Gilligan. Gilligan examines the female justice perspective saying... ... middle of paper ... ... and results. I find it an attractive route to take to morality. Her care results, though, came in near equal proportion from males and females so this undermines the feminist argument Gilligan makes in favor of the female care perspective. The melded definition sheds great light on a fully developed care perspective but this perspective usually is aligned with a justice outlook. While care is defined, offering concrete examples of care and justice leading to different imperatives is nearly impossible. In any event, the care/justice distinction is hard to define. Bibliography: Works Cited Barcalow, Emmett. Moral Philosophy. Belmont: Wadsworth, 1994 Manning, Rita. Speaking from the Heart: A Feminist Perspective on Ethics. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1992 Sterba, James P. Three Challenges to Ethics. New York: Oxford, 2001

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