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VulnerabilityNew Essays in Ethics and Feminist Philosophy$
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Catriona Mackenzie, Wendy Rogers, and Susan Dodds

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199316649

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199316649.001.0001

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Dependence, Care, and Vulnerability

Dependence, Care, and Vulnerability

(p.181) 7 Dependence, Care, and Vulnerability

Susan Dodds

Oxford University Press

The concepts of dependence, vulnerability and care are central to feminist ethics. However, the distinctions between these concepts are rarely spelled out. Similarly, while some feminists ground moral duties of care in our responses to dependent infants or vulnerable others, the nature of these responsibilities bears further analysis. This essay provides a detailed analysis of the relations amongst vulnerability, dependence and care. Engaging with the work of Margaret Walker and Eva Feder Kittay, the essay then investigates the complexities associated with the social assignment of responsibility for vulnerability. It demonstrates how some social and legal responses to dependence can generate further dependency and pathogenic forms of vulnerability, while others can promote resilience, autonomy, and recognition.

Keywords:   vulnerability, dependence, care, feminist ethics, social justice

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