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Chapter 1- Ethical Theories- Annette Baier: The Need for more than Justice March 1, 2009

Filed under: itethic — hikaru011 @ 2:59 pm

Otsuka Hikaru


Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

Book Review: Chapter 1- Ethical Theories- Annette Baier: The Need for more than Justice

Library Reference: N/A

Internet Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Care_perspective

Learning Expectation:

  • I expect to learn justice perspective

  • Care perspective

  • Kohlberg’s theory


“Gilligan wants still wants to claim that women are most unlikely to take only the justice perspective, as some men are claimed to, at least until some mid-life crisis jolts them into “bifocal” moral vision. Gilligan in her book did not offer any explanatory theory of why there should be any difference between female and male moral outlook, but she did tend link naturalness to women of the care perspective with their role as the primary caretakers of young children, that is with their parental and specifically maternal role.”

Book Review:

Most men claimed to be of care perspective. For me, men should be classified as justice perspective. Care perspective, as the quote stated above, for woman, suits a woman. It comes with naturalness, a woman is the one who take care of an infant, raise a child, and discipline a person. There are things with this naturalness that only woman can do. Gilligan’s position is said to be contrasting Kohlberg’s idea.

There are questions are raised in the book. These are: Is justice blind to important social values, or at least one eyed? What is it that comes into view from care perspective that is not seen in justice perspective? I believe that we used to look at justice as blind or one eyed since as a female, we think that justice is always at men’s side. In differentiating justice and care perspective, care perspective according to wikipedia focuses on people in terms of their connectedness with others. I think this is why Gilligan says that women, more than men, are of care perspective. Since connectedness is concern, naturalness comes hand in hand. For me, woman is more understanding or open minded in any relationship.

Kohlberg’s theory was grouped into three levels: pre-conventional, conventional, and post-conventional. According to the book, Kohlberg’s version of moral maturity aspect for person and for their rights as equals did not shared by many men, and the women most likely to speak with different voice. I think it is because how men’s outlook or perspective is different from woman.

Integrative Questions:

  1. What is a care perspective?
  2. Who claims that woman is more on care perspective?
  3. How many levels does Kohlberg’s theory have?
  4. What is justice perspective?
  5. Are justice considered as blind and one eyed?

What I have learned:

According to Gilligan, women should claim themselves as of care perspective. Care perspective comes with naturalness, which means since women are the ultimate caretakers, women should be also of care perspective.

Review Questions:

  1. Distinguish between the justice and care perspective. According to Gilligan, how do these perspectives develop?

In the book, Gilligan claims that woman are most unlikely to take only justice perspective, since the care perspective is a women’s natural role as the primary caretakers of young children.

  1. Explain Kohlberg’s theory of moral development. What criticisms do Gilligan and Baier make of this theory?

  • Pre-conventional level – where what is seen to matter is pleasing or not
  • Conventional – a child tries to fit in a group like school, etc
  • Post-conventional

Kohlberg’s version of moral maturity did not seem shared by many young men.

  1. Baier says there are three important differences between Kantian liberals and their critics. What are these differences?

Differences between Kantian liberals and their critics:

· The relative weight put on relationships between equal

· The relative weight put on freedom of choice

· The authority of intellect over emotions

  1. Why does Baier attack the Kantian view that the reason should control unruly passions?

Because she said that we should never forget the facts of history.

Discussion Questions:

1. What does Baier mean when she speaks of the need “to transvalue the values of our patriarchal past”? Do new values replace the old ones? If so, then do we abandon the old values of justice, freedom, and right?

To transvalue means improving our values. I think new values does not replace the old ones, the new values are just the improved versions.

2. What is wrong with the Kantian view that extends equal rights to all rational beings, including women and minorities? What would Baier say? What do you think?

There is nothing wrong with the Kantian’s view.

3. Baier seems to reject the Kantian emphasis on freedom of choice. Granted, we do not choose our parent, but still don’t we have freedom of choice about many things, and isn’t this very important?

Freedom of choice for me is a privilege.


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