Volume 25, 2009
Gender, Diversity, and Difference
Liberté, Égalité, Sororité
How Care Ethics Informs Social Justice
When theorists first struggled to define and distinguish care ethics from other moral theories, many chose to sharply differentiate it from justice. Now that care ethics has matured as a field, theorists no longer characterize care and justice as purely oppositional, giving rise to new questions about how the two moral concepts relate to one another. This article suggests that care ethics contributes to a richer social morality than traditional justice approaches in at least four areas: metaphysics, epistemology, psychology, and ethical content. Accordingly, taking care ethics seriously as a political framework can enrich our concept of social justice. I begin with an overview of the state of care theory and then offer a framework for understanding the continuity between care and justice. The bulk of the article addresses the contribution of care ethics to our understanding of social morality beyond justice.