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Past Seminar Series

Seminar Series: Care practices: towards a recasting of ethics

This seminar series is hosted by the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing and The Oxford Martin School, and funded by the John Fell Fund.

As a young and rapidly expanding branch of ethics, the ethics of care offers insights that both practitioners and theorists cannot but consider. It came to prominence as an interdisciplinary endeavour in the eighties when the social scientist, Carol Gilligan, questioned the hidden (pseudo) Kantian approach in moral pedagogic. She argues that it is through relations and their particular contexts that people recognize what is of value to them. Drawing on feminist theory the ethics of care rapidly developed: from gender issues to that of race and power. The field further advanced through major contributions by Virginia Held and Joan Tronto, clarifying the political ethical nature of the ethics of care where care is not primarily conceptualized as a virtue but the core activity constituting the possibility of living-well together. Recent developments within the ethics of care offer an ethical reasoning from a relational and contextual perspective. It inductively draws its insights from practices of care where qualitative empirical research together with thorough conceptual analysis provides the source for a grounded normative stance.

This series highlights the critical and bold assertions voiced by an ethics of care: In what sense are emotions important to ethics? Which problems are addressed by a more relational interpretation of autonomy, vulnerability and knowledge? Is an empirically grounded form of ethics a sound idea? What does it mean for ethics to be grounded by practices? The Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, University of Oxford in collaboration with the Chair, Ethics of Care, University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht and the Oxford Martin School will address these and other thought-provoking questions and corresponding perspectives through eight seminars. Experts from a range of countries and schools of thought, namely Virginia Held from the US, Helen Kohlen from Germany, Sandra Laugier and Fabienne Brugère from France, Christina Schües and Elisabeth Conradi from Germany, and the two co-organizers, from the Netherlands, Frans Vosman and Andries Baart will lead the discussion. These scholars will draw on research from a variety of practices, e.g. care for older persons, care in a general hospital, psychiatry and care for intellectually-disabled people as well as on everyday life in neighbourhoods.

Event Details

15 October 2014 12:30 - 03 December 2014 14:00

More Information


Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School

34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets)