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The Ethical Systems of Noddings and Bell - Term Paper Example

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In this paper “The Ethical Systems of Noddings and Bel” the author will analyze and compare two systems of ethics. The first is posited by Nel Noddings, the second by Linda A. Bell. It is his belief that Bell’s criticisms of Noddings’ care ethics are valid due to Noddings’ narrow focus on individuals…
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The Ethical Systems of Noddings and Bell
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The Ethical Systems of Noddings and Bell

Download file to see previous pages... This in itself makes the argument that all women are nurturing, which is not necessarily true. Her ethics theory is based on this premise. To illustrate, she tells the story of Ceres, who loses her daughter, Proserpine, to Pluto, god of the underworld (373). Grief-stricken, Ceres is taken in by Celeus and finds a sick boy at his home. She cures him and gives him knowledge of agriculture: “the cared-for shall be blessed not with…power, but with the great gift of usefulness” (374). In telling of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac, Noddings posits a male system of responsibility to an abstract ideal, which is “absolute duty toward God” (375). Noddings system repudiates the ideals of an absolute deity and abstract principles in favor of an ethics based on “natural caring, that makes the ethical possible” (376). In terms of ethics, Noddings asserts that women are concrete thinkers, devoted to an ideal of “we-ness:…She does not, in whatever personal agony, inflict death upon her child in devotion to either principle or abstract entity” (377). ...
I believe the “have tons of the one-caring and the cared for”, which Noddings describes as “internal imperatives”(380) refer to the chains of obligation placed upon women. Even Noddings’ language internalizes the position of the oppressed. Bell’s system of ethics presupposes a paradigm. The feminist ethicist must first be aware of the larger society to which she belongs, and whose mores she has internalized, even if she is now questioning them. Class differences, racial and ethnic groups, “even different classes within those groups” as they relate to gender oppression must be included in an ethical system (18). The societal context of any moral/ethical analysis must be considered, or the analysis will be shallow (20). Bell’s definition of morality is “a set of prescriptions and prescriptions, a practical list of dos and don’ts” that govern behavior (19). To arrive at a system of feminist ethics, Bell examines different moralities and questions their origin, their place in the larger societal system, their possible inconsistencies and whether or not “one morality can be shown to be superior to any other” (19). Her ethical system is not synonymous with a common definition of morality. Bell’s paradigm includes the “reality of violence” routinely directed at women in society (21). This includes “sexual child abuse, rape, sexual harassment” as well as the legal system’s casual attitude in prosecuting the perpetrators(21). It also includes the persecution of the victim of violence when it occurs in the public sector. By characterizing such violence as a private matter, social institutions thus serve to condone it.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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