1st Edition

The Ethics of Need Agency, Dignity, and Obligation

By Sarah Clark Miller Copyright 2012
    200 Pages
    by Routledge

    214 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Ethics of Need: Agency, Dignity, and Obligation argues for the philosophical importance of the notion of need and for an ethical framework through which we can determine which needs have moral significance. In the volume, Sarah Clark Miller synthesizes insights from Kantian and feminist care ethics to establish that our mutual and inevitable interdependence gives rise to a duty to care for the needs of others. Further, she argues that we are obligated not merely to meet others’ needs but to do so in a manner that expresses "dignifying care," a concept that captures how human interactions can grant or deny equal moral standing and inclusion in a moral community. She illuminates these theoretical developments by examining two cases where urgent needs require a caring and dignifying response: the needs of the elderly and the needs of global strangers. Those working in the areas of feminist theory, women’s studies, aging studies, bioethics, and global studies should find this volume of interest.

    Introduction  1. The Moral Significance of Needs  2. The Duty to Care  3. the Manner of Meeting Needs  4. The Margins of Agency: Caring for the Fundamental Needs of Old Age  5. Global Needs and Care: Introducing Cosmopolitan Care  6. Future Needs.  Bibliography


    Sarah Clark Miller is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Associate Director of the Rock Ethics Institute at The Pennsylvania State University. She has published articles on ethical theory, social and political philosophy, and applied ethics in journals such as Social Theory and Practice and the Journal of Social Philosophy. She is currently completing a book on global responsibility.

    "...This is a thought-provoking book. It takes positions that arise out of recent discussions of the ethic of care and defends them in careful and thorough ways that make these positions available for the attention and scrutiny they deserve. Whether or not one is fully persuaded by this account, anyone interested in the possibilities of an ethics of need will benefit from reading it." – Grace Clement, Salisbury University in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

    "In The Ethics of Need: Agency, Dignity, and Obligation, Sarah Clark Miller presents a thoughtful synthesis of feminist care ethics and Kantian moral philosophy. Miller's account provides a strong theoretical basis for explaining the importance of supporting agency in meeting needs, the dangers of paternalism, and our obligations to meet the needs of caregivers."-Margaret Meek Lange in Hypatia