PHIL 2500 Lecture Notes - Audre Lorde, Kantianism, Rationality
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Feminist Ethics and Rationality Revisited March 13th
Susan Sherwin- feminist ethicist.
-rooted in male bias
ethical care-can help develop traditional moral theory- missing from traditional
interconnectivity, ethic of care, paying attention to people not abstract.
-Those relational bonds, needed to have moral justification.
-Who connects- Audre Lorde- dismantling the masters home- connectivity.
Moral significant is formed in direct relationship with others.
Difference and connection.
Connection to Sherwins ethics and Lorde. Hooks too. They use the same
-A moral theory needs to address human emotions. Separate from Kantian and
Utilitarian. –They’re based on universals.
Connects to Campbell an Jagger.
-Kantian- rationality is prime. Rules are aprori- predetermined. Pre-determined not
ad hoc. Not after you look at the situation. This is different from Sherwin. If it’s
based on individual human emotion for her its fluid. Can’t develop rules for how
emotions unfold. Thou shall not kill.
Utilitarian- Acting to create the greatest good, least harm for the most population.
Different from Sherwin- too abstract. They don’t look at particular situations. She
doesn’t look at society at large. Ethic of care looks at the individual case. Pay
attention to particular people.
With thought experiments- place the decision-maker as close as possible to
the issues at stake. So the stakes can be genuinely felt, not abstractly theorized.
Direct contrast to disembodied knowledge.
Ethic of Care
-Moral significance is found in relationships, connections with others.
-reasoning from particulars; social context
-steps from notion of nonviolence
-It has referred to as an “indirect”, “empathetic” and even a “narrative mode”
-Ethic Rights, Justice
-The subject is separate from others (i.e. autonomy);
-impersonal(subject aims to be detached from issues)
-relies on abstract principles
-stem from notions of equality
-Consider this- place the decision maker as close as possible to the issue or people at
stake. So the concerns of those affected can be genuinely felt, not abstractly
theorized. Contrast to disembodied knowledge. Trying to be objective, unbiased.
Standpoint epistemology- shifting who has epistemic epistemology, when power
dynamic is in play it might be beneficial to adhere to the knowledge of the person
who is in a subjugated position. Their standpoint is more valid or credible then
someone abstractly looking, then someone removed. Socially situated perspectives
can lay claim to epistemic privilege. Coincides with an ethic of care.
-Critique of an Ethic of Care- maybe it isn’t so great compared to Kantian or
-concept of care is ambiguous- not solid, no methodology.
-if the goal is just to show western thought is biased in the idea of universal
rationality. To show that philosophy have discriminate and oppress- it’s been
successful,- but is it a viable ethical theory?
-Gilligan may have made hasty generalizations. They rest on too small an
investigation. -too small sample size, not empirical. She says she was just opening
the doors. Should it become more empirical? Should some else take that up, more
social science to back it up?
-Maybe we need universal laws, rules. The concept of care doesn’t have a
methodology, not as concrete methodology for coming up with solutions for moral
dilemmas like Kantianism or utilitarianism. It’s ambiguous, doesn’t have a solid
definitions. Customs to connect with interconnectivity. Needs to follow up with
method. Maybe we need universal laws or rules- customs or outcomes.
There is a worry about the theory being relative- based on individual theory.
nothing to hold on to in methodology, needs systematic. Could evolve into
-doesn’t give us a code of behaviour.
-The ethic of care lacks over or is conscious political perspectives of systems of
domination. No knowledge of those who are subjugated. Actually acknowledge
those in inferior positions- does it reinforce subordination or does it get away from
it. Does it reinforce women’s subordination.
-potentially conflating an ethic of care with women and men use the ethic of justice.
Just glorifying the role of women, the binary.
-an ethic of care in relation with other ethical theories- ethic of virtue- concerned
with virtue ethics- ethic of care could be seen as a type of virtue.
-Hume’s moral theory- sentimentalism,- reason isn’t the only factor- reason is a
slave to passion. Reasons and emotions aren’t separate entities. If we want approval,
we’ll do things that are moral. Feelings, approval, shame, etc.
-Debra Orr- a professor here. PHD in philosophy. Philosophy of language. Now it’s
embodied knowledge. Meditation in class.
- Formal logic- synonymous with critical thinking. It’s a limited tool in
argumentation theory. At the very least there are two ways of thinking- ethic of care
or ethic of justice. Formal logic is part of an ethic of justice, all the tools (fallacy
theory, how to analyze arguments) with argumentation theory are in line with an
ethic of justice. The tools are not up for interpretation. Not dismissing formal logic
but it needs to be supplemented, need more options that re considered valid as well.
There should be a change in how we teach critical thinking. No one has changed in
how they teach critical thinking. No shift.
-Socialization influences to think ethic of justice is the best way of rationalizing.
-formal logic tools has one right answer.
-an argument is defined narrowly, limited. The context, the people that make the
argument, the history, there is no room for that in the formal logic theory of
-Orr’s goal- make more room for people and their arguing styles, less exclusive.
Informal logic can offer that, to be less exclusive. The repore between arguers- could
be just as important, usually the idea is just to figure out if their argument is strong
or weak. But with her but try too figure out if theirs a better repore between people
after the disagreement. There needs to be room of how people actually argue.
-fallacy theory- ad hominon. that we separate people from their arguments but we
don’t. People matter. Maybe we should
-mediation and restorative justice- accused youth and their victims- discuss the
harm and resolve it.
Rooted in male bias ethical care-can help develop traditional moral theory- missing from traditional interconnectivity, ethic of care, paying attention to people not abstract. Those relational bonds, needed to have moral justification. Who connects- audre lorde- dismantling the masters home- connectivity. Moral significant is formed in direct relationship with others. A moral theory needs to address human emotions. If it"s based on individual human emotion for her its fluid. Utilitarian- acting to create the greatest good, least harm for the most population. Ethic of care looks at the individual case. Pay attention to particular people. the issues at stake. So the stakes can be genuinely felt, not abstractly theorized. Moral significance is found in relationships, connections with others. It has referred to as an indirect , empathetic and even a narrative mode . The subject is separate from others (i. e. autonomy); With thought experiments- place the decision-maker as close as possible to.