Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 41, 2016

Asha Bhandary
Pages 43-68

Liberal Dependency Care

Dependency care is an asymmetric good; everyone needs to receive it, but it is not the case that we all have to provide it. Despite ethicists’ of care’s theorizing about the importance of dependency care, it has yet to be theorized within a form of liberalism. This paper theorizes two components of a liberal theory of dependency care. First, it advances a liberal justification to include the receipt of dependency care among the benefits of social cooperation. Then, it advances an autonomy-based principle to guide how care should be provided (“strong proceduralism”). Strong proceduralism is based on an account of autonomy that incorporates the significance of a person’s skills when he parses options. Strong proceduralism consequently requires educational efforts to teach care-giving skills to groups who have not previously possessed them. I hypothesize that strong proceduralism will secure adequate care provision as the outcome of autonomous choice, but if an inadequate number of people choose to provide care, then a secondary stage of deliberations will be necessary. If the outcome of those secondary deliberations is that people want to have their care needs met, then a fair process for distributing infringements on autonomy must be devised.