Social Justice and the Ethic of Care

Over at Approaching Justice this week, I am posting about the feminist ethic of care.

My first post “Feminism and the Social Contract” deals with the rather tricky concept of human nature found in the influential works of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and other.


“…despite some of the strengths in these respective theories, the social contract approach itself makes it difficult to accept the weaknesses which they contain. All of these theories place a heavy emphasis on their description of human nature and it is in their description of human nature that we often find problems. Can any description of human nature that fails to take into account the fact that women are fully human be used as the basis of a moral and political theory? I do not think so, particularly when we consider that these thinkers have given such a central significance to their account of human nature. For this reason, we have to look elsewhere to find the best conception of political theory.”

My second post “Care and the Liberal Theory of Justice” looks at the theory of social justice developed by the 20th Century philosopher John Rawls.


“Like Rawls, Joan Tronto heavily favors a more social democratic society where the state plays a more active role in achieving social justice. This more egalitarian society cannot be realized without care. This is a lesson that Rawlsians, like myself, need to acknowledge and emphasize within our work and advocacy. That many critics do not find care in Rawls’ theory is partially because it is not emphasized. In light of the political ethic of care, this is something which any egalitarian theory of justice cannot do.”

On Thursday, I will be posting about the ethic of care and the idea of religious obedience. On Friday, I will be looking at the issue of dependency in the work of Rawls.

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