Care and Flourishing A Liberal Neo-Aristotelian Ethic of Care
Flier, Leonard A.
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The ethics of care is the preeminent framework for theorizing about the place of care in practical reason. But existing accounts of the ethics of care suffer from two deficiencies: (1) they fail to adequately guide action, and (2) they do not give an integrated account of care and justice. In this dissertation I construct and defend an action-guiding neo-Aristotelian ethic of care that is grounded in an evaluative account of human nature and flourishing that starts from the ideal of authenticity. The ethic is teleological in that it establishes a specific vision of human flourishing; however, it is also liberal in the sense that an authentic life may take many different forms. In this way the ethic bridges the gap between an ancient teleological approach and a modern liberal approach, while at the same time giving an account of the ethics of care that promises to bridge the gap between care and justice. Several objections to a virtue account of the ethics of care are considered. These include the objection that whereas a virtue ethic focuses on the dispositions of individuals, the ethics of care focuses on relations between individuals, and also the objection that an evaluative neo-Aristotelian moral epistemology raises problems for feminism. I argue in response that a virtue account of the ethics of care is very much concerned with the quality of human relations, and that a moral epistemology that begins from authenticity supports powerful arguments in favor of equal treatment for women and for valuing women's perspectives.