Caritas – caring as an ethical conduct

Authors

  • Rika Levy-Malmberg RN, MPA (Senior lecturer, Doctoral student),

    1. Department of Caring Science, Faculty of Social and Caring Sciences, Åbo Academy University, Vaasa, Finland
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  • Katie Eriksson RN, PhD (Professor),

    1. Department of Caring Science, Faculty of Social and Caring Sciences, Åbo Academy University, Vaasa, Finland
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  • Lisbet Lindholm RN, PhD (Docent)

    1. Department of Caring Science, Faculty of Social and Caring Sciences, Åbo Academy University, Vaasa, Finland
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Rika Levy-Malmberg, Rantakatu 2, 85 PB 311, 65101 Vaasa, Finland.
E-mail: rika.levy-malmberg@abo.fi, rika.levy.malmberg@netikka.fi

Abstract

The aim of this theoretical study is to describe and analyze caritas by seeking the primary source for this phenomenon, which is used as a central motive in Eriksson’s Caritative Theory. The search for the origin and the essence of caritas by critical analysis will create an opportunity to assimilate new meaning into the practice of caring science. This new meaning, based on interpretation, will also act as a solid base for the creation of future theories within caring science. Although this study does not intend to create a new theory for this domain, an attempt is made to shed light on new understandings to establish a deeper foundation for further discussion. Therefore, the methodological basis used is the hermeneutics phenomenology described by Nygren. The starting points refer to three basic assumptions, the former two of which present the core of caring science as an academic discipline; the latter borrows from philosophical creation theology. Therefore, the path for analyzing caritas and the significance of developing a deeper and meaningful understanding are based on the writing of Eriksson as well as through historical and philosophical sources from Judaism, such as the Bible and the Talmud. The results of this study have introduced a new meaning and created a ‘space’ for caritas. These results are related to the notion of attitudes, being driven by curiosity and questioning, that link faith and scientific investigation. Above all, these attitudes form a central motive profoundly linked to love. Hence, caritas as an attitude turns the concept of care into a more ethical act. However, these new understandings have given rise to ethical questions that obligate consideration towards further study.

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