Not justice, but care? : an analysis of contemporary ethical theories in light of the love commandment

Noeth, Carike (2017-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Since the late 1970’s an important conversation concerning the ethics of care became more prominent. One of the most prominent and influential key figures of this ethical theory was Carol Gilligan who, during the 1980’s, developed the ethics of care as a response to the theory of the ethics of justice that was developed by her friend and colleague, Lawrence Kohlberg. The ethics of care was developed into an influential theory that changed the perception of moral development and it is for this reason that the work and development of the ethics of care by Carol Gilligan is of crucial importance in this dissertation. The ethics of care should, however, not be considered to be a moral theory that is restricted to the private sphere. It has also influenced the development of ethical-political theories that have an impact on the public sphere and how people live within public spaces. Joan Tronto, one of many prominent figures and experts on the ethics of care, develops the ethics of care further into a moral theory that has the potential to change the way democracy functions if people are willing to take their ethical responsibilities of care seriously along with their ethical responsibility of justice. In this dissertation one of the crucial questions to ask is whether the Christian tradition can learn something from the moral traditions that have already been developed, especially when it comes to the debate concerning the ethics of care and the ethics of justice. The proposed point of connection, based on the mutual basis of love, is Frits de Lange’s understanding of the Love Commandment, which will also serve as the hermeneutical lens of this dissertation. This dissertation does not attempt to critically- or theologically evaluate the work of the chosen key figures, but rather attempts to determine whether the Love Commandment, as the cornerstone of the Christian tradition and the hermeneutical lens of this dissertation, can be a valuable means to unify the ethics of care and the ethics of justice in order to create a society that seeks both justice and care as equal and necessary moral theories.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Sedert die laat 1970’s het daar ‘n belangrike gesprek ontwikkel oor die etiek van sorgsaamheid (the ethics of care). Een van die mees prominente figure van hierdie etiese teorie was Carol Gilligan wat gedurende die 1980’s die etiek van sorgsaamheid ontwikkel as ʼn reaksie op die etiek van geregtigheid soos dit uiteengesit is deur haar kollega en goeie vriend, Lawrence Kohlberg. Die etiek van sorgsaamheid het ontwikkel tot ʼn etiese teorie wat die manier waarop morele ontwikkeling gesien is verander het, en daarom is Carol Gilligan se werk van wesenlike belang vir die verstaan van die etiek van sorgsaamheid in hierdie proefskrif. Hierdie etiek van sorgsaamheid is egter nie beperk tot die privaat sfeer nie, maar het ook ‘n invloed gehad op die ontwikkeling van eties-politiese teorieë wat die publieke ruimtes en hoe ‘n mens binne hierdie publieke ruimtes funksioneer, beïnvloed. Joan Tronto, een van vele prominente figure en kenners wanneer dit kom by die etiek van sorgsaamheid, ontwikkel dan die etiek van sorgsaamheid verder tot so ʼn mate dat dit die funksionering van ʼn demokratiese samelewing kan verander indien etiese verantwoordelikhede van sorg, saam met die etiek van geregtigheid, ernstig opgeneem sou word. In hierdie proefskrif is ‘n wesenlike vraag of die Christelike geloofstradisies iets kan leer van die morele tradisies wat reeds ontwikkel is, veral as dit kom by die debat oor geregtigheid en sorgsaamheid. Die voorgestelde aanknopingspunt, gebaseer op die gemeenskaplike basis van liefde, is Frits de Lange se verstaan van die Liefdesgebod, wat dan ook dien as die hermeneutiese lens van hierdie proefskrif. Hierdie proefskrif poog nie om te dien as ‘n krities-teologiese evaluering van die werk van die gekose kernfigure nie, maar poog eerder om vas te stel of die Liefdesgebod, as die hoeksteen van die Christelike geloof en die hermeneutiese lens van hierdie proefskrif, van waarde kan wees om die teologiese verstaan van die etiek van geregtigheid en die teologiese verstaan van die etiek van sorgsaamheid nader aan mekaar te bring ten einde ʼn gemeenskap te vestig wat beide geregtigheid en sorg as gelykwaardige en noodsaaklike morele teorieë ag.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100816
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