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Gilligan, Carol. Moral orientation and moral development
1987, In Eva Feder Kittay & Diana T. Meyers (eds.), Women and Moral Theory. Rowman & Littlefield 19-23.
Added by: Simon Fokt
Abstract: When one looks at an ambiguous figure like the drawing that can be seen as a young or old woman, or the image of the vase and the faces, one initially sees it in only one way. Yet even after seeing it in both ways, one way often seems more compelling. This phenomenon reflects the laws of perceptual organization that favor certain modes of visual grouping. But it also suggests a tendency to view reality as unequivocal and thus to argue that there is one right or better way of seeing. Diversifying Syllabi: Gilligan argues that there are two “moral perspectives” that individuals can take when making moral judgments. The “justice” perspective has been associated with men and is (traditionally) taken as paradigmatic of mature moral reasoning. The “care” perspective, on the other hand, is associated with women, and is taken (by psychologists of the time) as a less mature form of moral reasoning. She argues against this view, and suggests that both perspectives are valuable. Though an individual may only be able to take on one perspective at a given time, they are not mutually exclusive, nor is one better than the other.

Comment: Diversifying Syllabi: Gilligan argues that there are two “moral perspectives” that individuals can take when making moral judgments. The “justice” perspective has been associated with men and is (traditionally) taken as paradigmatic of mature moral reasoning. The “care” perspective, on the other hand, is associated with women, and is taken (by psychologists of the time) as a less mature form of moral reasoning. She argues against this view, and suggests that both perspectives are valuable. Though an individual may only be able to take on one perspective at a given time, they are not mutually exclusive, nor is one better than the other.

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