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Care Ethics - Personal Statement Example

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My grandmother lives alone in another city. Every Sunday I send a card to her and visit her at least once a month. I get her groceries, make her cookies and read her favorite book. The smile on her face, as a result, gives me a satisfying feeling. Because of this, we have become very attached to one another…
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Care Ethics
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Care Ethics My grandmother lives alone in another Every Sunday I send a card to her and visit her at least once a month. I get her groceries, make her cookies and read her favorite book. The smile on her face, as a result, gives me a satisfying feeling. Because of this, we have become very attached to one another. I do this not because I am obliged to but because I care for her. My parents are in fact surprised that I do not have time to do their chores but I am always able to take time out to meet my grandmother. This is an example of ethical action based on care from my life.
When my mother asks me to run errands for the house like picking my younger brother up from school or babysitting him while mother has gone to buy grocery, I do it not because I love doing these tasks but because as the elder child this is my responsibility. Although I am least interested in singing nursery rhymes and making cereal for my brother, I have to do it. This is because from a very young age I have been told to become a responsible individual who fulfills all the duties. Therefore this is an example of ethical action based on duty from my life.
The former example illustrates the ethics of care whereby our moral actions are determined by the understanding of the importance of relationships. My enthusiasm to meet and help my grandmother is because of the special bond between us.
The latter example shows that my motives to help my mother are based on the Kantian ethics of duty, according to which actions that are done due to inclination have no moral value. My efforts to help my mother are just to discharge my duties.
When I help my grandmother, I look forward to the smile on her face and the faintest hint of smile on her face makes me happy and proud of myself. In other words the consequences of my act determine whether my action is morally right or wrong. However when I baby-sit my brother, I do so in reverence to the societal norms. My purpose is just to be a responsible child and respect the duties of the house.
However, when I am fulfilling my duties, my aim is not to please anyone (other than myself) but in the process if my actions delight my friends or family it does satisfy me. Therefore, even if there is a distinction in my motives for both actions I feel they may be similar in the sense that both give me a feeling of self-worth and importance. I feel proud of myself knowing that I followed through with my actions regardless of whether it was my duty or my own willingness. I did something worthwhile and made myself a better person.
Are these motives enough justification for my ethical action Should I be considering the implications of my motives before taking such actions I believe that the implications of care ethics are much stronger than Kantian ethics. I want to feel that my morals guided me to doing the right thing not just the obligation or duty. I want to take pride in my actions and know in my conscience that whatever I did was out of compassion and general goodwill towards people. It should be that my morals were in the forefront when I took ethical action not an obligatory duty. If my motives had been purely out of obligation I may not take as much pride or appreciation for what I did. It would seem trivial and unimportant. For instance if my father were ill, I would take care of him out of my love and respect for him. I would not consider it an obligation or a burden and I would feel good about the time I spent with him. However, if my boss asked me to help in a work-related research assignment I would do it out of obligation not through the calling of my conscience or any moral desire to do so. I may even resent the time and effort I spent on it. Thus creating a rather clear distinction between how I would justify my ethical actions.
Works Cited
1. Kant (2001). Philosophy 302: Ethics Kantian Ethics. Retrieved on March 21, 2008 from
2. Melissa E. Anderson (2004). Jane Addams' Democracy and Social Ethics: Defending Care Ethics. Macalester Journal of Philosophy. Volume 13, Issue 1 SPRING 2004: article 2 Read More
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