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Document Details :
Title: ‘Care’ & globale rechtvaardigheid
Subtitle: Betrokkenheidsethiek in het moraalfilosofische en theologische debat
Author(s): VAN STICHEL, Ellen
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Theologie
Volume: 50 Issue: 2 Date: 2010
Spurred by globalisation, the question of the moral arguments for the nature and scope of wealthier nations’ obligation toward the Two Thirds World is becoming critical. John Rawls’ thinking has stimulated moral philosophy to address this issue seriously. The result is a dichotomy between charity (as supererogatory and thus voluntary) and justice (as moral obligation). The feminist care approach questions whether a universal, abstract and individualist theory of justice is the most adequate concept to use in this discussion. Given its attention for particularity, tangibility and emotions, this approach’s intrinsic discourse, like the supererogation of charity, seems restricted to the private sphere, with as result the negation of its political implications. This last observation has led to criticism within the feminist current that wants to show that care does have public relevance. Given this correction, a renewed interpretation of care as commitment can provide a two-fold contribution to this discussion in moral philosophy. First, on the level of what we can call first-person commitment, care motivates action toward others without this motivation requiring an emotional tie. One person (or a whole community) can show concern about others’ suffering and living conditions. On the second level, care as commitment becomes a specific ethic in which the notion of global justice is seen from another perspective. Starting from the perspective of the tangible other, care aims at creating commitment to the third person and also addresses the way of implementing this approach. Accordingly, a political interpretation of care does not imply rejecting the notion of global justice, but does require a clear definition of it. Theological reasoning that refuses to lapse into agapism finds avenues of approach in this way of thinking. In his encyclical Deus Caritas Est, Benedict XVI identified love and charity, with as result a strict separation between the Church’s task (charity) and the world’s (justice) that excluded theological discourse from the theory of justice. A care approach permits philosophical underpinning for the relation between love and justice and as such supports both Paul Ricoeur’s and Justitia in Mondo’s thinking. Finally, the care approach’s view of justice fits in well with David Hollenbach’s Catholic notion of justice as participation.