Special Issue "Feminist Care Ethics Confronts Mainstream Philosophy"

A special issue of Philosophies (ISSN 2409-9287). This special issue belongs to the section "Virtues".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2022) | Viewed by 9539

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Maurice Hamington
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Philosophy, Portland State University, Portland, OR 97201, USA
Interests: ethics; feminist theory; care theory; American philosophy
Dr. Maggie FitzGerald
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Political Studies, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A5, Canada
Interests: ethics of care; feminist ethics; feminist moral philosophy; decolonial theory; decolonial ethics; international political theory; (global) political economy; postfoundational political thought

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Philosophies is devoted to dialogue between feminist care ethics and mainstream philosophical figures and concepts. As care ethics has evolved from its origins in the 1980s, it is clear that it does not always fit neatly within traditional philosophical categories. Yet, the philosophical implications of the ethics of care are robust and extend beyond ethics as such, with care theorists positing ontological, epistemological, and political significance to its approach. Despite these implications, and the growing acceptance of care ethics in a variety of academic literatures, it remains a somewhat marginalized philosophical framework. The original contributions to this volume juxtapose care theory with established philosophers and philosophical thought. The goal is to catalyze further intellectual interest and attention in how care enriches philosophy across a variety of subjects.

More specifically, we anticipate articles that address the intersection of care and the work of philosophers such as Fanon, Latour, Edith Stein, Kant, Rawls, Foucault, Zizek, Latour, Nussbaum, Dewey, and others. On the one hand, these articles will develop linkages between the ethics of care and the insights of mainstream philosophical thinkers, including those just noted, by highlighting fruitful sites for synthesis and by working through productive tensions. On the other hand, these articles will also demonstrate how the ethics of care can usefully challenge, expand, or amend mainstream philosophical approaches in ways that center the ontological, political, and moral insights of a care perspective. In attending to both the intersections and interstices between care ethics and established philosophical theories and approaches, the contributions in this Special Issue will provide a unique intellectual space for dialogue between significant philosophical figures and care ethics, with the aim of enriching both philosophical traditions. Accordingly, this Special Issue will appeal to scholars and practitioners from mainstream philosophy traditions, as well as those engaged with feminist philosophy, care theory, and the ethics of care.

Prof. Dr. Maurice Hamington
Dr. Maggie FitzGerald
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Philosophies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • care theory
  • empathy
  • ethics of care
  • existentialism
  • feminist ethics
  • moral philosophy
  • philosophy of language
  • political philosophy
  • social philosophy
  • western philosophy

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Feminist Care Ethics Confronts Mainstream Philosophy
Philosophies 2022, 7(5), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7050091 - 23 Aug 2022
Viewed by 336
Abstract
The central role of care in human history is beyond questioning [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminist Care Ethics Confronts Mainstream Philosophy)

Research

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Article
Wittgenstein and Care Ethics as a Plea for Realism
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040086 - 04 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 437
Abstract
This paper aims to bring together the appeal to the ordinary in the ethics of care and the ‘destruction’ or philosophical subversion which Wittgenstein references in his Philosophical Investigations: Where does our investigation get its importance from, since it seems to destroy [...] Read more.
This paper aims to bring together the appeal to the ordinary in the ethics of care and the ‘destruction’ or philosophical subversion which Wittgenstein references in his Philosophical Investigations: Where does our investigation get its importance from, since it seems to destroy everything interesting, all that is great and important? What we are destroying is nothing but houses of cards. The paper pursues a connection between the ethics of care and ordinary language philosophy as represented by Wittgenstein, Austin and Cavell, in particular in a feminist perspective. The central point of Carol Gilligan’s In a Different Voice may not be the idea of a ‘feminine morality’ but a claim for an alternative form of morality. Gilligan’s essay seeks to capture a different, hitherto neglected yet universally present alternative ethical perspective, one easy to ignore because it relates to women and women’s activities. The ethics of care recalls a plea for ‘realism’; in the sense given to it in Cora Diamond’s The Realistic Spirit to mean the necessity of seeing (or attending to) what lies close at hand. Reflection on care brings ethics back to everyday practice much as Wittgenstein sought to bring language back from the metaphysical level to its everyday use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminist Care Ethics Confronts Mainstream Philosophy)
Article
Caring for Whom? Racial Practices of Care and Liberal Constructivism
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040078 - 05 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 483
Abstract
Inequalities in expectations to receive care permeate social structures, reinforcing racialized and gendered hierarchies. Harming the people who are overburdened and disadvantaged as caregivers, these inequalities also shape the subjectivities and corporeal habits of the class of people who expect to receive care [...] Read more.
Inequalities in expectations to receive care permeate social structures, reinforcing racialized and gendered hierarchies. Harming the people who are overburdened and disadvantaged as caregivers, these inequalities also shape the subjectivities and corporeal habits of the class of people who expect to receive care from others. With three examples, I illustrate a series of justificatory asymmetries across gender and racial lines that illustrate (a) asymmetries in deference and attendance to the needs of others as well as (b) assertions of the rightful occupation of space. These justificatory asymmetries are cogent reasons to evaluate the justice of caregiving arrangements in a way that tracks data about who cares for whom, which can be understood by the concept of the arrow of care map. I suggest, therefore, that the arrow of care map is a necessary component of any critical care theory. In addition, employing a method called living counterfactually, I show that when women of color assert full claimant status, we are reversing arrows of care, which then elicits resistance and violence from varied actors in the real world. These considerations together contribute to further defense of the theory of liberal dependency care’s constructivism, which combines hypothetical acceptability with autonomy skills in the real world. Each level, in turn, relies on the transparency of care practices in the real world as enabled by the arrow of care map. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminist Care Ethics Confronts Mainstream Philosophy)
Article
An Ethics of Needs: Deconstructing Neoliberal Biopolitics and Care Ethics with Derrida and Spivak
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040073 - 30 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 560
Abstract
The body in need of care is the subaltern of the neoliberal epistemic order: it is that which cannot be heard, and that which is muted, partially so even in care ethics. In order to read the writing by which the needy body [...] Read more.
The body in need of care is the subaltern of the neoliberal epistemic order: it is that which cannot be heard, and that which is muted, partially so even in care ethics. In order to read the writing by which the needy body writes the world, a new ethics must be articulated. Building on Jacques Derrida’s philosophy of deconstruction, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s notions of subalternity and epistemic violence, critical disability scholarship, and corporeal care theories, in this article I develop an ethics of needs. This is an ethical position that seeks to read the world that care needs write with the relations they enact. The ethics of needs deconstructs the world with a focus on those care needs that are presently responded to with neglect, indifference, or even violence: the absence of care. Specifically, the ethics of needs opens a space—a spacing, an aporia—for a more ethical politics of life than neoliberal biopolitics can ever provide, namely, the politics of life of needs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminist Care Ethics Confronts Mainstream Philosophy)
Article
Ontology and Attention: Addressing the Challenge of the Amoralist through Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology and Care Ethics
Philosophies 2022, 7(3), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7030067 - 16 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 498
Abstract
This paper addresses the persistent philosophical problem posed by the amoralist—one who eschews moral values—by drawing on complementary resources within phenomenology and care ethics. How is it that the amoralist can reject ethical injunctions that serve the general good and be unpersuaded by [...] Read more.
This paper addresses the persistent philosophical problem posed by the amoralist—one who eschews moral values—by drawing on complementary resources within phenomenology and care ethics. How is it that the amoralist can reject ethical injunctions that serve the general good and be unpersuaded by ethical intuitions that for most would require neither explanation nor justification? And more generally, what is the basis for ethical motivation? Why is it that we can care for others? What are the underpinning ontological structures that are able to support an ethics of care? To respond to these questions, I draw on the work of Merleau-Ponty, focusing specifically on his analyses of perceptual attention. What is the nature and quality of perceptual attention that underwrite our capacities or incapacities for care? I proceed in dialogue with a range of philosophers attuned to the compelling nature of care, some who have also drawn on Merleau-Ponty and others who have examined the roots of an ethics of care inspired or incited by other thinkers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminist Care Ethics Confronts Mainstream Philosophy)
Article
Violence and Care: Fanon and the Ethics of Care on Harm, Trauma, and Repair
Philosophies 2022, 7(3), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7030064 - 08 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 682
Abstract
According to Frantz Fanon, the psychological and social-political are deeply intertwined in the colonial context. Psychologically, the colonizers perceive the colonized as inferior and the colonized internalize this in an inferiority complex. This psychological reality is co-constitutive of and by material relations of [...] Read more.
According to Frantz Fanon, the psychological and social-political are deeply intertwined in the colonial context. Psychologically, the colonizers perceive the colonized as inferior and the colonized internalize this in an inferiority complex. This psychological reality is co-constitutive of and by material relations of power—the imaginary of inferiority both creates and is created by colonial relations of power. It is also in this context that violence takes on significant political import: violence deployed by the colonized to rebel against these colonial relations and enact a different world will also be violent in its fundamental disruption of this imaginary. The ethics of care, on the other hand, does not seem to sit well with violence, and thus Fanon’s political theory more generally. Care ethics is concerned with everything we do to maintain and repair our worlds as well as reasonably possible. Violence, which ruptures our psycho-affective, material, and social-political realities, seems antithetical to this task. This article seeks to reconsider this apparent antinomy between violence and care via a dialogue between Fanon and the ethics of care. In so doing, this article mobilizes a relational conceptualization of violence that allows for the possibility that certain violences may, in fact, be justifiable from a care ethics perspective. At the same time, I contend that violence in any form will also eventually demand a caring response. Ultimately, this productive reading of Fanon’s political theory and the ethics of care encourages both postcolonial philosophers and care ethicists alike to examine critically the relation between violence and care, and the ways in which we cannot a priori draw lines between the two. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminist Care Ethics Confronts Mainstream Philosophy)
Article
Jacques Rancière and Care Ethics: Four Lessons in (Feminist) Emancipation
Philosophies 2022, 7(3), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7030062 - 08 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 544
Abstract
This paper proposes a conversation between Jacques Rancière and feminist care ethicists. It argues that there are important resonances between these two bodies of scholarship, thanks to their similar indictments of Western hierarchies and binaries, their shared invitation to “blur boundaries” and embrace [...] Read more.
This paper proposes a conversation between Jacques Rancière and feminist care ethicists. It argues that there are important resonances between these two bodies of scholarship, thanks to their similar indictments of Western hierarchies and binaries, their shared invitation to “blur boundaries” and embrace a politics of “impropriety”, and their views on the significance of storytelling/narratives and of the ordinary. Drawing largely on Disagreement, Proletarian Nights, and The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation, I also indicate that Rancière’s work offers crucial and timely insights for care ethicists on the importance of attending to desire and hope in research, the inevitability of conflict in social transformation, and the need to think together the transformation of care work/practices and of dominant social norms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminist Care Ethics Confronts Mainstream Philosophy)
Article
Care Ethics and the Feminist Personalism of Edith Stein
Philosophies 2022, 7(3), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7030060 - 01 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 595
Abstract
The personalist ethics of Edith Stein and her feminist thought are intrinsically interrelated. This unique connection constitutes perhaps the main novelty of Stein’s ethical thought that makes her a forerunner of some recent developments in feminist ethics, particularly ethics of care. A few [...] Read more.
The personalist ethics of Edith Stein and her feminist thought are intrinsically interrelated. This unique connection constitutes perhaps the main novelty of Stein’s ethical thought that makes her a forerunner of some recent developments in feminist ethics, particularly ethics of care. A few scholars have noticed the resemblance between Stein’s feminist personalism and care ethics, yet none of them have properly explored it. This paper offers an in-depth discussion of the overlaps and differences between Stein’s ethical insights and the core ideas of care ethics. It argues that both Stein and care ethicists relocate a certain set of practices, values and attitudes from the periphery to the center of ethical reflection. This includes relationality, emotionality and care. The paper finally argues that it is plausible and fruitful to read Stein’s advocacy of ‘woman’s values and attitudes’ in a critical feminist way, rather than as an instance of essentialist difference feminism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminist Care Ethics Confronts Mainstream Philosophy)
Article
Žižek’s Hegel, Feminist Theory, and Care Ethics
Philosophies 2022, 7(3), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7030059 - 31 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 563
Abstract
This article presents conceptual bridges that exist between the philosophy of G.W.F Hegel and a feminist ethics of care. To do so, it engages with Slavoj Žižek’s contemporary reading of Hegel in concert with existing feminist interpretations of Hegel’s thought. The goal of [...] Read more.
This article presents conceptual bridges that exist between the philosophy of G.W.F Hegel and a feminist ethics of care. To do so, it engages with Slavoj Žižek’s contemporary reading of Hegel in concert with existing feminist interpretations of Hegel’s thought. The goal of doing so is to demonstrate how both Žižek and a selection of critical feminist thinkers interpret Hegel’s perspective on the nature of subjectivity, intersubjective relations and the relationship between the subject and the world it inhabits, in a way that can further our thinking on the feminist ethics of care as a relational and contextualist ethics that foregrounds vulnerability as a condition of existence. These readings of Hegel highlight the radical contingency of human subjectivity, as well as the relationship between human subjectivity and the external world, in a way that is compatible with the feminist ethics of care’s emphasis on the particularity, fluidity, and interdependency of human relationships. I argue that this confrontation between care ethics and mainstream philosophy is valuable because it offers mutual contributions to both care ethics as a moral and political theory and the philosophy of Hegel and Žižek. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminist Care Ethics Confronts Mainstream Philosophy)
Article
Care Ethics and Paternalism: A Beauvoirian Approach
Philosophies 2022, 7(3), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7030053 - 18 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 745
Abstract
Feminist care ethics has become a prominent ethical theory that influenced theoretical and practical discussions in a variety of disciplines and institutions on a global scale. However, it has been criticized by transnational feminist scholars for operating with Western-centric assumptions and registers, especially [...] Read more.
Feminist care ethics has become a prominent ethical theory that influenced theoretical and practical discussions in a variety of disciplines and institutions on a global scale. However, it has been criticized by transnational feminist scholars for operating with Western-centric assumptions and registers, especially by universalizing care as it is practiced in the Global North. It has also been criticized for prioritizing gender over other categories of intersectionality and hence for not being truly intersectional. Given the imperialist and colonial legacies embedded into the unequal distribution of care work across the globe, a Western-centric approach may also carry the danger of paternalism. Hence, a critical approach to care ethics would require reckoning with these challenges. The aim of this article is first to unfold these discussions and the responses to them from care ethics scholars and then to present resources in Beauvoir’s existentialist ethics, specifically the tenet of treating the other as freedom, as productive tools for countering the Western-centric and paternalistic aspects of care practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminist Care Ethics Confronts Mainstream Philosophy)
Article
Thinking about the Institutionalization of Care with Hannah Arendt: A Nonsense Filiation?
Philosophies 2022, 7(3), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7030051 - 16 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 655
Abstract
In recent decades, some feminists have turned to the writings of Hannah Arendt in order to propose a truly emancipatory ethic of care or to find the principles that could lead to the political institutionalization of care. Nevertheless, the feminist interpretations of Hannah [...] Read more.
In recent decades, some feminists have turned to the writings of Hannah Arendt in order to propose a truly emancipatory ethic of care or to find the principles that could lead to the political institutionalization of care. Nevertheless, the feminist interpretations of Hannah Arendt are particularly contrasted. According to Sophie Bourgault, this recourse to Hannah Arendt is deeply problematic, mainly because of her strong distinction between the private and public spheres. This article discusses the relevance of using Arendt’s concepts to think about the institutionalization of care by Joan Tronto. Indeed, the most recent analyses developed on the politics of care are shaped by Arendt’s concepts such as power, amor mundi or by her conception of politics as a relationship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminist Care Ethics Confronts Mainstream Philosophy)
Article
A Care Ethical Engagement with John Locke on Toleration
Philosophies 2022, 7(3), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7030049 - 26 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 746
Abstract
Care theorists have yet to outline an account of how the concept of toleration should function in their normative framework. This lack of outline is a notable gap in the literature, particularly for demonstrating whether care ethics can appropriately address cases of moral [...] Read more.
Care theorists have yet to outline an account of how the concept of toleration should function in their normative framework. This lack of outline is a notable gap in the literature, particularly for demonstrating whether care ethics can appropriately address cases of moral disagreement within contemporary pluralistic societies; in other words, does care ethics have the conceptual resources to recognize the disapproval that is inherent in an act of toleration while simultaneously upholding the positive values of care without contradiction? By engaging care ethics with John Locke’s (1632–1704) influential corpus on toleration, I answer the above question by building the bases for a novel theory of toleration as care. Specifically, I argue that care theorists can home in on an oft-overlooked aspect of Locke’s later thought: that the possibility of a tolerant society is dependent on a societal ethos of trustworthiness and civility, to the point where Locke sets out positive ethical demands on both persons and the state to ensure this ethos can grow and be sustained. By leveraging and augmenting Locke’s thought within the care ethical framework, I clarify how care ethics can provide meaningful solutions to moral disagreement within contemporary pluralistic societies in ways preferable to the capability of a liberal state. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminist Care Ethics Confronts Mainstream Philosophy)
Article
Care Ethics, Bruno Latour, and the Anthropocene
Philosophies 2022, 7(2), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7020031 - 14 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1102
Abstract
Bruno Latour is one of the founding figures in social network theory and a broadly influential systems thinker. Although his work has always been relational, little scholarship has engaged the relational morality, ontology, and epistemology of feminist care ethics with Latour’s actor–network theory. [...] Read more.
Bruno Latour is one of the founding figures in social network theory and a broadly influential systems thinker. Although his work has always been relational, little scholarship has engaged the relational morality, ontology, and epistemology of feminist care ethics with Latour’s actor–network theory. This article is intended as a translation and a prompt to spur further interactions. Latour’s recent publications, in particular, have focused on the new climate regime of the Anthropocene. Care theorists are just beginning to address posthuman approaches to care. The argument here is that Latourian analysis is helpful for such explorations, given that caring for the earth and its inhabitants is the dire moral challenge of our time. The aim here is not to characterize Latour as a care theorist but rather as a provocative scholar who has much to say that is significant to care thinking. We begin with a brief introduction to Latour’s scholarship and lexicon, followed by a discussion of care theorist Puig de la Bellacasa’s work on Latour. We then explore recent work on care and the environment consistent with a Latourian approach. The conclusion reinforces the notion that valuing relationality across humans and non-human matter is essential to confronting the Anthropocene. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminist Care Ethics Confronts Mainstream Philosophy)
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