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This paper addresses the likely impact on women of being denied emergency contraception (EC) by pharmacists who conscientiously refuse to provide it. A common view—defended by Elizabeth Fenton and Loren Lomasky, among others—is that these refusals inconvenience rather than harm women so long as the women can easily get EC somewhere else nearby. I argue from a feminist perspective that the refusals harm women even when they can easily get EC somewhere else nearby.
In this paper we defend the notion of narrative identity against Galen Strawson's recent critique. With reference to Elyn Saks's memoir of her schizophrenia, we question the coherence of Strawson's conception of the Episodic self and show why the capacity for narrative integration is important for a flourishing life. We also argue that Saks's case and reflections on the therapeutic role of “illness narratives” put pressure on narrative theories that specify unduly restrictive constraints on self-constituting narratives, and clarify the need to distinguish identity from autonomy.
Comparing the typologies of human activities developed by Beauvoir and Arendt, I argue that these philosophers share the same concept of labor as well as a similar insight that labor cannot provide a justification or evaluative measure for human life. But Beauvoir and Arendt think differently about work (as contrasted with labor), and Arendt alone illuminates the inability of constructive work to provide non-utilitarian value for human existence. Beauvoir, on the other hand, exceeds Arendt in examining the ethical implications of our existential need for a plurality of free peers in a public realm.
How ought we to respond to strangers in imminent need? Many people suggest that we need justice to temper the partiality of care. In this paper I argue that neither care nor justice adequately motivates attention to the suffering of strangers. Rather, a different virtue, compassion grounded in equanimity, is required. I demonstrate that the virtue of compassion allows the agent to sustain her engagement with suffering strangers without sacrificing her own flourishing.
This paper treats the political and ethical issues associated with the new caretaking technologies. Given the number of feminists who have raised serious concerns about the future of care work in the United States, and who have been critical of the degree to which society “free rides” on women's caretaking labor, I consider whether technology may provide a solution to this problem. Certainly, if we can create machines and robots to take on particular tasks, we may lighten the care burden that women currently face, much of which is heavy and repetitious, and which results in injury and care “burnout” for many female caretakers. Yet, in some contexts, I argue that high-tech robotic care may undermine social relationships, cutting individuals off from the possibility of social connectedness with others.
Care ethicists have long insisted that Kantian moral theory fails to capture the partiality that ought to be present in our personal relationships. In her most recent book, Virginia Held claims that, unlike impartial moral theories, care ethics guides us in how we should act toward friends and family. Because these actions are performed out of care, they have moral value for a care ethicist. The same actions, Held claims, would not have moral worth for a Kantian because of the requirement of impartiality. Although Kantian moral theory is an impartial theory, I argue that the categorical imperative in the Formulation of Humanity as an End and the duty of respect require that we give special treatment to friends and family because of their relationships with us. Therefore, this treatment does have moral value for a Kantian.
This essay assesses the compatibility of Eva Kittay's dependency critique with Rawlsian political liberalism. I argue for the inclusion of a modified version of Kittay's revisions within Rawlsian theory in order to yield a theory that supports much of dependency work. Beyond these selected changes, however, I argue that Kittay's other proposed changes should not be included because they are incompatible with Rawls, and furthermore, their incorporation does not yield a theory that includes utter dependents.
The existing literature on filial morality has an important gap. It explores responsibilities adult children have toward their elderly parents, and ignores questions about responsibilities of dependent children. Filling this gap involves specifying what competent and morally decent social parents can legitimately expect from children. I argue that it is appropriate to expect and encourage young dependent children to demonstrate cooperation, mutuality, and trust, along with gratitude and reciprocity of value.
Diana Tietjens Meyers and Margaret Urban Walker argue that women's autonomy is impaired by mainstream representations that offer us impoverished resources to tell our own stories. Mainstream picture books apprentice young readers in norms of representation. Two popular picture books about child storytellers present competing views of a child's authority to tell his or her own story. Hence, they offer rival models of the development of autonomy: neo-liberal versus relational. Feminist critics should attend to such implicit models and the hidden assumptions they represent in children's books.
In recent decades, group autonomy approaches to multiculturalism have gained legitimacy within both academic and policy circles. This article examines the centrality of group autonomy in the multiculturalism debate, particularly in the highly influential approach of Will Kymlicka. I argue that his response to the dilemmas of liberal-democratic multiculturalism relies on an underdeveloped conceptualization of group autonomy. Despite presumably good intentions, his narrow notion of cultural group autonomy obscures the requirements of minority group members' democratic capabilities and thereby works against the kind of transformative change that “accommodated” groups are seeking from the state. Although some critics (Young 1990; Benhabib 2002) have gone so far as to reject autonomy-based approaches to accommodation altogether (Young 1990, 251), I suggest that this position goes too far. In response, I offer an intermediary position between those that defend and those that reject an autonomy-based approach. Instead of fully rejecting autonomy as a guiding principle for multiculturalism, I develop an ethics of care approach to group autonomy based on relationality, which addresses the inadequacies of the dominant approach to multiculturalism. Such an account of group autonomy is a vital step toward reconciling multiculturalism with the necessary components of liberal-democratic citizenship.