1. In Week One, we looked at the view of Ruth Benedict (discussed in Chapter 3 of Rosenstand’s The Moral of the Story) a 20th-century anthropologist, who says that, “Normality…is culturally defined,” and “the concept of the normal is properly a variant of the concept of [the] good” (Benedict [from “Anthropology and the Abnormal (1934),]” qtd. in Rosenstand, p. 151, 8e). Benedict is saying that what any culture or society deems to be a good, right, or correct action and morally good, or at least morally appropriate, behavior will in fact be such in relation to the belief system and practices of that culture or society. This leaves the door open for a wide variety of ways of life, of ethical codes, of individual behavior to be acknowledged not only as acceptable, but also as morally good.2. Read the excerpt from Carol Gilligan’s In a Different Voice. She writes: “…women come to question the normality of their feelings and to alter their judgments in deference to the opinion of others….The difficulty women experience in finding or speaking publicly in their own voices emerges repeatedly in the form of qualification and self-doubt….Women’s deference is rooted not only in their social subordination but also in the substance of their moral concern. Sensibility to the needs of others and the assumption of responsibility for taking care lead women to attend to voices other than their own and to include in the judgment other points of view” (qtd. in Rosenstand, pp. 648-650, 7e). Evaluate Gilligan’s position here in relation to any of the ethical views we’ve studied in the course as well as your own view of the moral landscape, in particular with respect to gender differences. How do these claims of Gilligan line up with the views of altruist Emmanuel Levinas? (See Chapter 10). Is Gilligan correct in the claim that women see moral qualities such as being just or being good differently from the way men do? Explain and defend your answer using whatever evidence you believe to be relevant. Read more from Gilligan here: gilligan-women-self and morality-1985.pdf
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