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Feminist Ethics

Feminist Ethics

  • Women have not been recognized as equal to men since time immemorial; even prominent moral thinkers have denigrated their position.
  • Aristotle justifies the exclusion of women from political activity. He believes that virtue of a man and of a woman are not the same. The courage of a man is shown in commanding and of a woman in obeying.
  • According to Rousseau, a woman should not be brilliant, a brilliant wife is a plague to her family. He believed that a woman’s reason is practical and unprincipled. A man’s reason, on the other hand, is abstract, general and principled.
  • He suggested that women be educated differently from man and they should be excluded from citizenship. Similarly, Kant claimed that women only have the ability to sense and not reason. Nietzsche stated that equal rights for women are evidence of a society in decline.

Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development:

Kohlberg claims that children go through a series of stages in their moral development.

According to him, as one moves through the stages, one becomes less self-interested and more impartial in one’s outlook.  Feminist Ethics

The scale has 3 major levels and 6 minor stages:

  • Pre-conventional Level: This is an egoistic level without concern for others.

Stage 1: Here action is regulated by reward and punishment.

Stage 2: Here altruistic acts are performed in the anticipation of reciprocity.

  • Conventional Level: It involves altruistic care for others.

Stage 3: Interpersonal relationships are fostered by taking into account the needs of others.

Stage 4: Laws are formulated to promote the cohesiveness of society or group.

  • Post-conventional Level: Here duties are formulated in terms of abstract rules that transcend cultures and situations.

Stage 5: Here violation of a law is allowed if it results into greater good.

Stage 6: The highest level which is concerned with rights and justice.

  • Kohlberg points out that women get stuck at the 3rd stage, they give importance to relationships rather than justice. He tries to demonstrate this through a thought experiment. Feminist Ethics



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