- Feminist ethics critique the traditional theories, written by privileged men have certain
o Male experiences are the norm
Failure to recognize the female perspective/experience
o Issues in private realm devalued
Emphasis put on the public realm, and the division of the public and private
realm is a problem for morality.
o Men as morally mature, females taken as morally immature.
Reasoning as a quality applied to males, not females.
o Masculine characteristics overrated
Taken to be the most important characteristics overall, the value emphasis is
put on these associatively ‘male’ quality.
Women not viewed as having capacity for reason – Aristotle puts rationality
at the centre of his theory.
o ‘male’ ways of reasoning (rights, rules, impartiality) over the ‘female’ way
(relationships, responsibility, particularity)
This legitimizes women’s subordination
- Critique of Utilitarianism:
o Total happiness is important, but this may exclude acting for loved ones –in the
requirement for impartiality.
Extreme impartiality does not allow for family to be valued more.
o Relationships are only indirectly relevant.
Utilitarian would reject this criticism; allowance for relationships on the
basis of its contribution of the overall good, and then would still only be
Feminist ethics determine that persons and relationships as intrinsically
o Sees persons as ‘bearers of utility’ – people are not valuable in and of themselves.
Criticisms of Kant:
- Denied women ful