Title

Care Ethics and Paternalism: A Beauvoirian Approach

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2022

Publication Title

Philosophies

Abstract

Feminist care ethics has become a prominent ethical theory that influenced theoretical and practical discussions in a variety of disciplines and institutions on a global scale. However, it has been criticized by transnational feminist scholars for operating with Western-centric assumptions and registers, especially by universalizing care as it is practiced in the Global North. It has also been criticized for prioritizing gender over other categories of intersectionality and hence for not being truly intersectional. Given the imperialist and colonial legacies embedded into the unequal distribution of care work across the globe, a Western-centric approach may also carry the danger of paternalism. Hence, a critical approach to care ethics would require reckoning with these challenges. The aim of this article is first to unfold these discussions and the responses to them from care ethics scholars and then to present resources in Beauvoir’s existentialist ethics, specifically the tenet of treating the other as freedom, as productive tools for countering the Western-centric and paternalistic aspects of care practices.

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