Caring

Caring: A Relational Approach to Ethics and Moral Education

Nel Noddings
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 2
Pages: 256
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt7zw1nb
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  • Book Info
    Caring
    Book Description:

    With numerous examples to supplement her rich theoretical discussion, Nel Noddings builds a compelling philosophical argument for an ethics based on natural caring, as in the care of a mother for her child.InCaring-now updated with a new preface and afterword reflecting on the ongoing relevance of the subject matter-the author provides a wide-ranging consideration of whether organizations, which operate at a remove from the caring relationship, can truly be called ethical. She discusses the extent to which we may truly care for plants, animals, or ideas. Finally, she proposes a realignment of education to encourage and reward not just rationality and trained intelligence, but also enhanced sensitivity in moral matters.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95734-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. PREFACE TO THE 2013 EDITION
    (pp. xiii-xx)
  5. PREFACE TO THE 2003 EDITION
    (pp. xxi-xxiv)
    Nel Noddings
  6. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-6)

    Ethics, the philosophical study of morality, has concentrated for the most part on moral reasoning. Much current work, for example, focuses on the status of moral predicates and, in education, the dominant model presents a hierarchical picture of moral reasoning. This emphasis gives ethics a contemporary, mathematical appearance, but it also moves discussion beyond the sphere of actual human activity and the feeling that pervades such activity. Even though careful philosophers have recognized the difference between “pure” or logical reason and “practical” or moral reason, ethical argumentation has frequently proceeded as if it were governed by the logical necessity characteristic...

  7. 1 WHY CARE ABOUT CARING?
    (pp. 7-29)

    The main task in this chapter is a preliminary analysis of caring. I want to ask what it means to care and to lay down the lines along which analysis will proceed in chapters two and three. It seems obvious in an everyday sense why we should be interested in caring. Everywhere we hear the complaint “Nobody cares!” and our increasing immersion in bureaucratic procedures and regulations leads us to predict that the complaint will continue to be heard. As human beings we want to care and to be cared for.Caringis important in itself. It seems necessary, however,...

  8. 2 THE ONE-CARING
    (pp. 30-58)

    Caring involves, for the one-caring, a “feeling with” the other. We might want to call this relationship “empathy,” but we should think about what we mean by this term.The Oxford Universal Dictionarydefinesempathyas “The power of projecting one’s personality into, and so fully understanding, the object of contemplation.” This is, perhaps, a peculiarly rational, western, masculine way of looking at “feeling with.” The notion of “feeling with” that I have outlined does not involve projection but reception. I have called it “engrossment.” I do not “put myself in the other’s shoes,” so to speak, by analyzing his...

  9. 3 THE CARED-FOR
    (pp. 59-78)

    The one-caring comes across to the cared-for in an attitude. Whatever she does, she conveys to the cared-for that she cares. If she is in conversation with a colleague, she listens, and her eyes reflect the seriousness, humor, or excitement of the message being spoken. If she tends the sick, her hands are gentle with the anticipation of pain and discomfort. If she comforts the night-terrored child, her embrace shields from both terror and ridicule. She feels the excitement, pain, terror, or embarrassment of the other and commits herself to act accordingly. She is present to the cared-for. Her attitude...

  10. 4 AN ETHIC OF CARING
    (pp. 79-103)

    David Hume long ago contended that morality is founded upon and rooted in feeling—that the “final sentence” on matters of morality, “that which renders morality an active virtue”—“…this final sentence depends on some internal sense or feeling, which nature has made universal in the whole species. For what else can have an influence of this nature?”¹

    What is the nature of this feeling that is “universal in the whole species”? I want to suggest that morality as an “active virtue” requires two feelings and not just one. The first is the sentiment of natural caring. There can be...

  11. 5 CONSTRUCTION OF THE IDEAL
    (pp. 104-131)

    The ethical ideal as I have described it springs from two sentiments: the natural sympathy human beings feel for each other and the longing to maintain, recapture, or enhance our most caring and tender moments. Both sentiments may be denied, and so commitment is required to establish the ethical ideal. We must recognize our longing for relatedness and accept it, and we must commit ourselves to the openness that permits us to receive the other. The effort required to summon ethical caring is greatly reduced by renewed commitment to the sentiment from which it springs. For if we commit ourselves...

  12. 6 ENHANCING THE IDEAL: JOY
    (pp. 132-147)

    In the preceding chapter, I suggested that joy often accompanies a realization of our relatedness. It is the special affect that arises out of the receptivity of caring, and it represents a major reward for the one-caring. Feeling joy in relatedness—whether in relation to persons, other living things, or ideas—encourages growth in the ethical ideal. Our joy enhances both the ideal and our commitment to it. We want to remain in direct contact with that which brings us joy and, somehow, with that joy itself.

    What is joy? Is it an emotion, or should we more properly regard...

  13. 7 CARING FOR ANIMALS, PLANTS, THINGS AND IDEAS
    (pp. 148-170)

    An ethic grounded in the natural caring of ordinary life must consider our relation to animals. For us, there is no absolute source of life, meaning, and morality that separates the species neatly according to some preordained value hierarchy. We are not given dominion over the beasts of the land. Further, there are intellectual reasons for examining our relation to animals. The problems we struggle with as we do so shed further light on the questions we have already considered, and we may find deeper support for our contention that the ethical impulse or attitude is grounded in the caring...

  14. 8 MORAL EDUCATION
    (pp. 171-202)

    A discussion of practical ethics quite naturally involves a discussion of how we shall educate people to be ethical. From the view we have taken, such a discussion is of vital importance, for we all bear a responsibility for the ethical perfection of others. Moral education is, then, a community-wide enterprise and not a task exclusively reserved for home, church, or school. Further, it has for us a dual meaning. It refers to education which is moral in the sense that those planning and conducting education will strive to meet all those involved morally; and it refers to an education...

  15. AFTERWORD
    (pp. 203-208)

    There is still much work to be done on care ethics. In this brief afterword, I will suggest two especially important and challenging questions to address. One of the most important tasks facing care theorists (and other moral philosophers) is a thorough analysis of empathy. Lawrence Blum pointed out this need almost two decades ago when he suggested that “sympathy and empathy are in a sense not unitary phenomena but, rather, collectivities of at least somewhat distinct sensitivities to different aspects of other people’s well-being.”¹ In addition to describing these sensitivities, we must consider what arouses them, what enervates them,...

  16. NOTES
    (pp. 209-218)
  17. SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 219-222)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 223-232)