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“The Morality of Justice and the Morality of Care: Are there Distinct Moral Orientations for Males and Females?”

Spader, Dean J.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) Criminal Justice Review. 27(1):66-88

Do males and females posses different orientations towards ethics? Carol Gilligan answered this question in the affirmative with the publication of “In a Different Voice”, in which her empirical research demonstrated different moral orientations between the sexes.Since her 1982 publication, Gilligan and numerous other researchers have developed the “morality of care” as an alternative to the traditional “morality of justice” approach that has dominated moral and political philosophy that has dominated moral and political philosophy for the past two centuries. Gilligan and others suggest that the morality of care reflects gender differences and highlights critical ommissions of traditional ethics. The purpose of the present article is to provide an overview and analysis of the two moralities. The following examination includes (a). a review of Gilligans early and later research, (b) a summary of the core distinctions with citations for further reading,(c) empirical and theoretical criticisms of the difference theory, and (d) an analysis of four major approaches that may be adopted with criminal justice applications. The article concludes that the field of criminal justice, especially crimminal justice ethics, might obtain significant benefits by recognizing the adequacy, and in some issues the superiority, of moral theories that intergrate a care orientation. Criminal justice should join numerous other proffesions that are using the rich insights and practices emanating from the morality of care.


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