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Dalmiya, Vrinda, , . Why should a knower care?
2002, Hypatia 17(1): 34–52.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Abstract: This paper argues that the concept of care is significant not only for ethics, but for epistemology as well. After elucidating caring as a five-step dyadic relation, I go on to show its epistemic significance within the general framework of virtue epistemology as developed by Ernest Sosa, Alvin Goldman, and Linda Zagzebski. The notions of “care-knowing” and “care-based epistemology” emerge from construing caring (respectively) as a reliabilist and responsibilist virtue.

Comment: This text is best used in epistemology classes when discussing virtue reliablist and responsibilist approaches, and epistemic success in general. It will also be useful in philosophy of science classes: Dalmiya argues for radical changes in our approach to scientific research, including a redefinition of the epistemic and moral constraints which guide it.

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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.
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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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Kittay, Eva Feder, , . When Caring Is Just and Justice is Caring: Justice and Mental Retardation
2001, Public Culture 13(3): 557-580
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Summary: In this paper, Kittay advances a conception of justice that ‘begins with an acknowledgement of dependency and seeks to organise society so that our well-being is not inversely related to our need for care or to care’ (576). Her motivation for advancing this view is that ideals of citizenship in liberal society, including independence and productivity, perpetuate the victimisation, social exclusion, or stigmatisation of people with mental retardation and their carers. This is because liberal definitions of personhood do not provide resources for responding in a morally adequate way to the mutual dependence of people with mental retardation and their carers/advocates. People with mental retardation are inescapably dependent because of their central need for attentive care. And, carers’ work is so deeply other-directed that they also do not fit the liberal model of the rationally self-interested actor. Thus, both carers and their charges are vulnerable and need to be advocated for so that they can be seen as having important entitlements to public resources and claims to justice. To this end, Kittay proposes a conception of personhood that is based on relationships. Although those with mental retardation are inherently dependent, they still count as persons because they are able to participate in relationships. This makes them entitled to the satisfactions that make life worth living. To achieve the twin goal of achieving justice for familial or paid carers, Kittay advances a new principle of justice, doulia, which calls for larger society to support those who care for the inexorably dependent. Kittay takes her relational conception of personhood and her principle of doulia to ensure that appropriate forms of social organization exist to support all those who become dependent. She claims her view is needed because principles of charity and beneficence are not adequate since they are consistent with the continued stigmatization of mental retardation and care work, and ground only low-priority social obligations.

Comment: This paper, with it’s helpful discussions of the elements of the liberal tradition with which Kittay specifically takes issue and the inadequacies of the Americans with Disabilities Act, would be an appropriate reading for courses about the philosophy of disability or about liberal political theory.

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Zagzebski, Linda, , . Epistemic Value and the Primacy of What We Care About
2004, Philosophical Papers 33(3): 353-377.
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Added by: Rie Iizuka, Contributed by: Wayne Riggs

Abstract: In this paper I argue that to understand the ethics of belief we need to put it in a context of what we care about. Epistemic values always arise from something we care about and they arise only from something we care about. It is caring that gives rise to the demand to be epistemically conscientious. The reason morality puts epistemic demands on us is that we care about morality. But there may be a (small) class of beliefs which it is not wrong to hold unconscientiously. I also argue that epistemic values enjoy a privileged place in the panorama of what we care about because they are entailed by anything we care about. That means that when there is a conflict between caring about knowledge or true belief and caring about something else, that conflict cannot be resolved simply by following the one we care about the most because caring about knowledge in any domain is entailed by caring about that domain. Finally, I argue that whereas caring demands different degrees of conscientiousness in different contexts, contextualism about knowledge is less plausible.

Comment: An interesting paper on the concept of care in virtue epistemology. This paper might be useful in the course of virtue epistemology or philosophy of care.

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