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Political: Government and Marriage (Just Care)

Video transcript

hello my name is Elizabeth Break I teach philosophy at Arizona State University and today I want to talk to you about just care imagine a normal person a representative of the people does your normal person have a gender if society were based on the typical experiences of people of that gender what would it exclude feminist care ethics hatched from the idea that philosophers have taken men as the norm and ignored women's experiences Carol Gilligan in the 1980s suggested that men and women had different approaches to moral reasoning she claimed that women tended to value care and particular relationships while men tended to value justice and abstract reasoning whether or not that gender difference exists to some this claim itself seemed sexist moral philosophy has historically pushed caring relationships to the sidelines care ethics intersects with another line of feminist critique you may have heard the phrase a man's home is his castle but when women had no legal equality and marital rape was not even a crime a husband's castle could be his wife's prison one of the great insights of feminist political philosopher Susan Mahler Okin was that most political theories ignored the family but the family is part of law and society it can contain injustice like domestic abuse family law can be just or unjust like laws prohibiting interracial marriage or permitting spousal rape and society and the state depend upon the family since that is where children future citizens are usually produced political principles of justice can be applied to the legal structure of the family but this influence goes both ways experiences of care and relationships can enrich political theory and inform principles of justice in John Rawls's theory of justice the good is defined for political purposes in a way neutral between different views as he explains this idea in his 1971 book a theory of justice primary goods are goods which are normally needed for the pursuit of various plans of life they are good from within the different moral and religious views which people in a free society have Roz talks about natural goods such as health and vigor and social goods such as money and liberties and the social basis of self-respect but how could Rawls leave care off this list we wouldn't develop at all without someone caring for us usually our parents most life plans involve caring relationships rather centrally I've argued that care should be included in the list of primary goods of course someone could choose to be a hermit and have no caring relationships then again someone could choose to live without money care is as normally needed as money in the liberties what would it mean to incorporate care as one of the goods in the theory of justice in the last four lectures we've seen one implication the state should support caring relationships as it now supports monogamous romantic diets but could the state provide other social supports for care there are other groups that get excluded from political theory the elderly and people with disabilities among others some people in these grips it might be harder to form caring relationships because it might be harder to leave the home and interact with people could the design of our cities the building codes the rules of urban planning our public spaces our housing stock our transportation support entry into caring relationships could the state promote caring relationships the way it now promotes public health through no smoking campaigns or the way it promotes marriage the more we bring different voices and experiences of race or ethnicity of gender of sexual orientation of age of living with disability into political theory the better we will be able to construct their principles of justice and the more we may imagine the role of the state drawing on feminist theory to bring in women's experiences and traditional roles suggests the political theory should make care more central you