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Virtues and Their Vices$
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Kevin Timpe and Craig A. Boyd

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199645541

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199645541.001.0001

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Virtue and a Feminist Ethics of Care

Virtue and a Feminist Ethics of Care

(p.481) 22 Virtue and a Feminist Ethics of Care
Virtues and Their Vices

Ruth Groenhout

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the widespread tendency to treat an ethics of care as a version of virtue theory derives from a faulty set of assumptions. In the standard taxonomy of ethical theories there are three main categories: consequentialist, deontological, and virtue theory. As feminists have begun to develop an ethics of care, however, the question of whether care ethics is a variant of virtue theory, rather paradoxically, points out serious gaps that are generated by the assumptions embedded in the standard taxonomy. This essay examines the assumptions and then questions whether the taxonomy itself may have some inbuilt limitations. This chapter also notes some of the ways that Confucian ethics simply fails to fit any of the categories in the standard taxonomy. Resolving the relationship between care ethics and virtue ethics thus requires a reconsideration of basic assumptions about what an ethical theory is and ought to be.

Keywords:   virtue, ethics of care, consequentialism, deontology, Confucian ethics, ethical theory

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