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Virginia Held

Serie Internationale Zorgethici 17 – Virginia Held

1. Where are you working at this moment?

I am semi-retired but still at the City University of New York, Graduate Center, Philosophy Department.

2. Can you tell us about your research and its relation to the ethics of care?

I am the author of The Ethics of Care: Personal, Political, and Global; Feminist Morality: Transforming Culture, Society, and Politics; and other relevant books and articles, most recently “Morality, Care, and International Law,” in Ethics and Global Politics (open access)

3. How did you get involved into the ethics of care?

I am interested in moral, social, and political philosophy. The ethics of care seemed promising and I wanted to contribute to its development.

4. How would you define ethics of care?

It is a new approach to morality based on the experience of caring and being cared for and reflection on the values involved. It is both a moral theory and theorizing about practices of care. For fuller discussion, please see my book The Ethics of Care.

5. What is the most important thing you learned from the ethics of care?

That it is potentially an alternative to the traditional and dominant but inadequate moral theories of Kantian ethics, utilitarianism, and virtue theory.

6. Whom do you consider to be your most important teacher(s) in this area?

Largely through their writings: Sara Ruddick, Joan Tronto, Nel Noddings, Fiona Robinson, Selma Sevenhuijsen, Eva Kittay, Margaret Walker, Carol Gilligan, Diana Meyers, Peta Bowden….

7. What works in the ethics of care do you see as the most important? 

I hope my book The Ethics of Care makes a contribution. Limiting myself to 3 other suggestions, they would be Sara Ruddick’s Maternal Thinking, Joan Tronto’s Moral Boundaries, and Fiona Robinson’s Globalizing Care.

8. Which of your own books/articles should we read?

See answer to Question 2

9. What are important issues for the ethics of care in the future?

It needs to improve its formulation as moral theory and to explore its implications for social, political, legal, and global issues.

10. In Tilburg our ambition is to promote ethics of care nationally and internationally. Do you have any recommendations or wishes?

I wish you much success !!

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