The Ethics of Care

Ethics Rooted in Feminist Philosophy

Lesson Objectives

Appreicate the diminished role that women have historically held in Philosophy

Appreciate the sociocultural history of Feminist thought in 20th century America

Understand how Noddings finds questions of Ethics rooted in the Other

Understand the Ethics of Care, Natural Care, and ultimately Ethical Care

Appreciate what the Ethics of Care look like in real-world practice

Understand some of the disadvantages of Care Ethics

Key Terms



First-Wave Feminism


Flapper Girl

Cult of Domesticity

Second-Wave Feminism

Third-Wave Feminism

Post Third-Wave Feminism



Care Ethics

Universal Care

Women in Western Philosophy

What is Feminism?

• Feminism is the position that women have been historically marginalized and ought to also have their voices heard

• Feminism is pro-woman the same way that Civil Rights was pro-Black — advocating for one group doesn't negate the other

• Feminism does not posit that there are no gender differences

     • Otherwise, there would be no talk of "women" & "men," etc

     • Feminism takes the identity & role of women as its focus

Male Philosophers through the Ages

• Aristotle: women are not as rational as men

• Kant: women lack “civil personality”

• Rousseau: women have different virtues and are more suited for the home

The Need for Modern Feminist Thought

• Feminists blame cultural conditioning for the perpetuation of gender stereotypes

• A feminist perspective can contribute to the field of Ethics in new ways