Our third approach to thinking about
ethics is going to be the Ethic of Care.
So, the first thing to point out is this
is really just a matter of the focus
or the lens that we use
to look at a situation.
And it could be said that the ethic of care
is consonant with other ethical theories.
So, you could look at a situation
through the lens of principalism
but you can also look at it
through the ethic of care.
So it doesn't mean that they're in opposition, it's
just a different way of looking at the same situation.
The ethic of care grew out of thoughts
with regard to developmental psychology.
So how does one achieve moral
maturity and there are different ways
that philosophers have thought
about this over the years.
And the ethic of care is a tradition
that goes back thousands of years,
but really gained residence
just in the past half century.
And what it really focuses on is the
idea of relationships and relatedness.
So, a saying that people are
connected to each other.
That interconnection then
generates some obligations
or feeling of responsibility for other people
because we're in relationship with them.
And unlike some other traditional philosophical
approaches where reasoning was everything,
you know, the rational mindset is how you
would deliberate and come to decisions.
In the ethic of care, it's felt
that emotions are important.
How we feel, how we react to another person's,
whether it's suffering or situation,
those emotions are important
and should not be disregarded.
So ethic of care, again,
different lens, different focus,
different viewpoint is
saying emotions matter.
And if you think for yourself of we
use care in a lot of different ways.
So I tell another person I care
for you or I care about you.
We talked about taking
care of another person.
We talked about giving care.
So, care is an element in our language
that shows our connection to each other,
various ways that we use it and
demonstrate that to another person.
So even though I said doing, you are not
going to say that they're in opposition,
the ethic care and principle so I just
want to do a compare and contrast
between these 2 approaches since we've
talked so much about principalism.
So again, if we're thinking about
a lens and how we're focusing,
the locus for principalism
is the self, you know,
respect for autonomy and the
person being self-determining,
making their own decisions whereas in the
ethic of care, the locus is relationships.
So not to mention the individual person, but
the person in relationship with others.
The fear, when we're thinking about you know what's
at stake, in principalism we think about oppression,
you know, that idea of other people are
out to get me, I got to defend myself
and you know the liberty interest would say I
don't want to be oppressed by other people.
Whereas if you're thinking about the ethic of
care and being in relationship with other people,
really the main fear is being
abandoned, losing those relationships.
The goal is going to
be a little different.
So, in principalism, again the reasoning,
the having order and getting rules
and you know deontology following those rules and that
there's an equality everyone, you know, gets an equal share.
Whereas the goal for the
ethic of care is security.
So, feeling secure and safe
in your relationships.
When we think about judgment for principalism,
think about the scales of justice.
You know, justice is
blind, wearing a blindfold
and being impartial in how
you're rendering judgments.
Whereas in the ethic of care, if
we're thinking about relationships
and people being connected,
really it's all about partiality.
Knowing the other person and
knowing their connection to them,
that is going to matter in how you come to
reach your judgment, how you make a decision.
Very much for a social justice, we think
about partiality rather than impartiality
when we think about like
For the self, for the person, the
individual, you know in principalism
it's sort of an atom, you know
atomistic, 1 unto itself.
Whereas, the self in the ethic
of care is in relationship.
It's more like a molecule
rather than an atom.
You know, you're connected
to that other person.
When you're thinking about
maturity, you know,
so when you've achieved
that developmental process that we
go from childhood into adulthood
and being able to make
decisions and perform actions,
when we talk about principalism, again we
were thinking about respect for autonomy,
the autonomous individual
making their own decisions.
Whereas in the ethic of care,
it's all about interdependence.
We're all connected to each other,
we're all dependent on each other.
So being mature is actually recognizing you're not
in it by yourself, you've got others to think about.
And those others, you know, in
principalism it's the abstract others.
It's just people out
there in the world.
It's me and my atomistic self, my individual self
against the world and the others are just abstract.
Whereas in the ethic of care, each person has
their own identity. They're individuated.
They matter because they have their own
personhood and we're connected to them.
And showing respect for
other people, you know,
so in principalism it's about
what we call negative rights,
so not being oppressed by the other person, the
non-interference, the non-maleficence idea.
Whereas respecting others in the ethic
of care is about responsibility.
So, if I'm in, you know, the paradigm relationship
would be like the family relationship.
Do I feel responsible for these
other people in my family?
And acknowledging that they
have needs, I have needs,
we're interdependent and therefore we're going to
respect each other by taking care of each other.
So let me talk about a case just
to try to bring this to light.
Imagine you're taking care of middle-aged
woman who has just had a cardiac arrest.
She has lack of oxygen to her brain and she
goes in to a persistent vegetative state
so she is no longer going to be able
to communicate with those around her.
If you look at this case through
the lens of principalism,
you'd start with well "Did she ever have an
advanced directive that would sort of state
what she would want or not want if she
were in a persistent vegetative state?"
We'd turn to somebody to
make decisions for her.
Is there someone to represent her
interest or surrogate decision maker,
perhaps a family member,
that would make decisions.
And then we'd ask them, you know,
through an informed consent process,
you know "What should we do to
take care of your loved one?
Are there risks and benefits of
whatever treatment we're proposing?
If it's a life-sustaining treatment
like mechanical ventilation,
we have to keep her alive
through this artificial means.
Is that something that she
would want or not want?
That's sort of how principalism
would approach this.
Whereas, if you think about it through
the ethic of care and you use that lens,
you're really going to think
about who was this woman?
What's her story? What's
her life story, you know?
Who are her family members? What are
the relationships they have with her?
How can we assist, perhaps it's her adult
children that need to make this decision?
They are also going through this,
you know, devastating lost.
Their mother will no longer be
the same person that she was.
We think about the
relationships they have.
We think about her more in terms of a family
unit rather than just the individual person
and then trying to come to a decision about how
we're going to take care of her in the future.
It might include, you know, making those
decisions for mechanical ventilation
or it might be choosing to withdraw
any life-sustaining treatment.
Again, it's just the lens that we used to
think about the case and how we focus it.