Care and Abstract Principles
Version of Record online: 3 NOV 2011
© by Hypatia, Inc.
Volume 27, Issue 2, pages 407–422, Spring 2012
How to Cite
O'Dowd, O. (2012), Care and Abstract Principles. Hypatia, 27: 407–422. doi: 10.1111/j.1527-2001.2011.01244.x
- Issue online: 4 APR 2012
- Version of Record online: 3 NOV 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 4 MAR 2011
- Manuscript Received: 1 MAR 2010
Since Carol Gilligan's analysis of the “Heinz dilemma,” many philosophers working on care have articulated critiques of abstraction and principles in ethics. Their objections to abstraction and principles have not always been systematically set out. In this paper, I try to clarify the debate. I begin by distinguishing several aspects of the care critique. I then consider the strengths of each from a Kantian perspective. I conclude that, although some of these objections point out potential misuses of abstraction and principle, and in doing so, suggest strategies and cautions for their correct and careful use in ethics, they do not present a successful challenge to abstraction or principles as such.