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Title: Towards a Levinasian Care Ethic
Subtitle: A Dialogue between the Thoughts of Joan Tronto and Emmanuel Levinas
Author(s): DIEDRICH, W. Wolf , BURGGRAEVE, Roger , GASTMANS, Chris
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 13    Issue: 1   Date: March 2006   
Pages: 31-59
DOI: 10.2143/EP.13.1.2011786

Abstract :
In this paper, we suggest the likely effects of the application of Emmanuel Levinas’s philosophy to the care ethic, particularly as it is represented by the author Joan Tronto, one of the most cogent exponents of care ethics. Thus, we ask: does Levinas’s philosophy have enough in common with the care ethic to be able to overlap it and fruitfully address shared issues of pressing importance? And, is Levinas’s philosophy different enough to challenge the care ethic and help it grow in the ways that it must to become a more philosophically recognized and viable perspective? Our answer is affirmative in both regards. This paper does not intend to criticize the philosophy of Levinas on the basis of care ethics (as it is our conviction that care ethics has precious little on which to criticize Levinas, apart from his view of women) but instead lends the care ethic a perspective with the philosophical legitimacy that it has been hitherto lacking. In terms of alterations to the care ethics, we believe first and foremost that, from a Levinasian point of departure, it would be necessary for the care ethic to adopt a greater awareness of asymmetry in the ethical relation, as well as become more future-oriented towards the consequences of the individual agent’s (intentional or non-intentional) actions.

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