An Ethic of Care Critique

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Hassan, Thea
Nel Noddings , Ethic of Caring , Feminist Theory , Gender Roles
The foundation upon which ethics should be based is debatable in the field of philosophy. Nel Noddings proposes “An Ethic of Caring” which offers a feminist approach to ethics based on caring. Noddings’ ethic of care is not beneficial to feminism because it encourages caring as the sole basis of ethics, hinders a woman’s ability to become autonomous, and reinforces traditional gender roles. Critiques offered by Victoria Davion, Jean Keller and Virginia Held offer insightful additions and modifications of Noddings’ ethic of care. Noddings’ ethic of care, while beneficial to general ethical guidelines, is not appropriate for feminism because it encourages traditional gender roles for women, ignores virtues besides care, and inhibits a person from becoming autonomous. The ethic of care could be improved by the addition of autonomy and justice into the theory.
Quest 2008