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Carol Gilligan: Moral Orientation and Moral Development

Justice and care perspective, as explained by Carol Gilligan

Sophia Ortiz

on 13 March 2014

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Transcript of Carol Gilligan: Moral Orientation and Moral Development

Moral Orientation and Moral Development
Gilligan's Observations:
"One moral perspective currently dominates psychological thinking and is embedded in the most widely used measure for assessing the maturity of moral reasoning"
Care Perspective:
Less examined, but nonetheless recognized point of view.
Justice Perspective
Dominant moral framework in philosophy and psychology
Idea is Present in Men
: 80, educationally advantaged North American adolescents and adults:
Care is Part of Our Development
"All higher cognitive functions originate as actual relations between individuals" (206)
Children Know Both Orientations
Children, ages 11 and 15, could decide how to solve a problem from
the justice and care perspective.
"What makes seeing both moral perspectives so difficult is precisely that the orientations are not opposites nor mirror images or better and worse representations of a single moral truth. The terms of one perspective do not contain the terms of the other" (208)
The Justice Perspective...
Assumes male perspective as default
Confuses one's own perspective with the perspective of all
Wrongly equates care with self-sacrifice
Two Ways of Moral Thinking
Problems With Favoring the Justice Perspective
Defending the Care Perspective

Flaws in Major Psychological Studies
Six stages of moral development
Used all male sample as basis of definitions
Deems differences insignificant:
Greater tolerance
Greater willingness to make exceptions to rules
Solve conflicts in an innovative way
Concludes that women are less morally sophisticated than men
Built on Piaget's work
Acknowledged that his research exists within
justice framework
and tried to introduce
care perspective
However, he still equated justice reasoning with moral reasoning
The moral agent is the self, and ignores social relationships, judging conflict against a standard of equality and deciding objectively what is right or wrong.
Question: "What is just?"
"As a moral perspective, care is less well elaborated and there is no ready vocabulary in moral theory to describe its terms" (204)
Gilligan's Definition:
The self is by definition connected to others
Responds to and interprets events based on governing principles of human interaction
One's own terms may differ from those of others
"Justice in this context becomes understood as respect for people in their own terms" (204)
Question: "How should one respond?"
raise concern about
justice and care
focus attention on
set of concerns
Majority of men focus on
1/3 women focus on
, 1/3 on
Although our propensity to favor the care perspective varies, we all recognize it.
Children didn't always agree with the perspective they initially chose...
Moral judgments don't necessarily reveal structure of moral thinking.
We experience inequality, making us strive for freedom/greater equality
We also experience attachment, and experience how people can care for/hurt one another
These lay groundwork for what we see as justice and care, suggesting both are related and are not at odds.
By Sophia Ortiz
Full transcript