The Ethics of Need : Agency, Dignity, and Obligation book cover
1st Edition

The Ethics of Need
Agency, Dignity, and Obligation

ISBN 9780415754422
Published April 9, 2014 by Routledge
200 Pages

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

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

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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.


"...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, USA, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews