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Record Type: Review   ID: 570

Speaking from the Heart: A Feminist Perspective on Ethics

Manning, Rita C.

 In addition to its content, this is an important book for those interested in EHEs by its very example. The author is a philosopher and a feminist, but she came to write this book out of her own experience as the necessary starting place. Initially she had been simply a rational philosopher, until, as many feminists believe one should, she began speaking from her own experience of caring and found her own voice. The reviewer believes this approach is also needed to study EHEs. We must start from our own experiences, large or small, and include what we have learned from them in our attempts to come to grips with the nature of EHEs. Manning holds that "an ethic grows out of one’s lived experience" (p. xiv). So does an understanding of EHEs. The first chapter presents a feminist critique of ethical theory. In Chapter 2, she defends the anti-theory standpoint and argues against a robust moral realism, whose corollary, in the study of EHEs, is the Descartian view of human nature. The third chapter deals with situated ethics, or the "effect of experiences of gender, class, race, and parenting on moral reasoning" (p. xv). The "voice of use" is described both as an ethic and amorality in the next chapter. Chapters 5 and 6 are about caring for persons and animals, respectively, with examples "to illustrate the perspective of care and to challenge the reader’s intuition" (p. xv). In the final chapter she wrestles with the question of "whether an ethic of care is truly a feminist ethic" (p. xv). Where she ends up is in the same place that following a personal EHE takes one. To Manning, "an ethic of care ... sees each individual as part of the sacred whole" (p. 162).
Publisher Information:Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1992. 183p. Bibl: 167-178; Chap. bibl; Index: 179-183; 17 tables
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