- Accounts for advantages of the ethic of care: (1) connects well with moral motivation: one has to care to do anything; (2) moral life is about caring relationships not just abstractions; (3) people are viewed socially, in a web of caring interrelationships and not just in isolation as individuals; (4) flexible; (5) sensitive to context; (6) avoids “cold and unemotional” stereotype plaguing many ethical theories.
- Best caring does not lead to the disadvantages of the ethics of care: (1) does not condone doing whatever one “cares” to do; (2) does not conduce to favoritism but what is best for all; (3) does not lead to problems in which people do not care about others; (4) is less vague than being told to be “caring”; (5) best caring does help us to account for justification in ethics, as my explanation of best caring ethics demonstrates.
- Accounts for the advantages of utilitarianism of (1) caring about others and thus avoiding mere egoism; (2) being fair to everyone; (3) offering a way to resolve conflicts between rules: choose the best caring alternative; (4) like ethics of care, being sensitive to situation or context; (5) giving a plausible reason for acting: doing what is best; (6) not afraid of “getting hands dirty,” may choose the lesser of evils in some tragic situations.
- Best caring does not lead to the disadvantages of utilitarianism: (1) does not permit atrocities since these go against what is best for individuals; (2) does not lead to easily overriding rights or rules especially against harming; (3) does not depend as much on calculating “maximum utility”; (4) does not act for a mindless thing, maximum utility, but rather for beings to whom things matter, sentient beings; (5) does not lead to valuing sadistically as utilitarian hedonists and preferentialists do.
- Accounts for advantages of standard rights theories: (1) upholding the dignity of individuals; (2) guarding against favoritism; (3) not sacrificing individuals for the greatest good; (4) making a priority of preventing harm unlike utilitarianism; (5) allowing for consistent treatment of individuals; (6) is open to the idea of justification in ethics.
- Does not have disadvantages of traditional rights theories: (1) being too abstract and adversarial, as caring relations are not; (2) does not lead to the absurd problem of traditional rights theories of not strictly guaranteeing rights: we have seen that standard theories do not protect against utilitarianism (see reasons against standard rights theories).
- By having laws which punish people who are selfish to deter bad conduct, best caring accounts for the advantages of ethical egoism for dealing with people who are selfish and lack sympathy or good will towards others, without leading to the numerous disadvantages of ethical egoism: (1) depicting selfish people as virtuous; (2) being willing to abuse others; (3) leaving the mentally disabled, animals and minorities open to abuse; (4) tension and discord of conflicting egoists; (5) being uncaring about other societies; (6) demanding special treatment for ego without a special reason; (7) favouring only the good of ego rather than what is best; (8) confusing one’s own emotions’ vividness with their being more important.
- Accounts for advantages of skepticism: (1) refuses to be dogmatic; (2) lets individuals decide for themselves on the basis of reasons; (3) accounts for diversity in ethics because best caring affirms what individuals are interested in, so long as that is not harmful (it would be too much diversity to affirm violence); (4) accounts for moral disagreement as people normally pursue whatever they value but in a way that may stop short of respecting what is best for everybody.
- Does not lead to disadvantages of skepticism: (1) anything goes; (2) providing no moral guidance; (3) reverting to ethical egoism.
Perhaps we shall have a better philosophy of peace when our philosophy itself embodies the best of all philosophical traditions together, without the disadvantages of forms of thought which, taken to extremes, lead to problems. However, not just anything can secure a unity which provides for the advantages of traditional ethics while avoiding their disadvantages. We cannot simply throw incompatible philosophies together all at the same time in a self-contradictory form of syncretism, or again inconsistently, pick and choose different philosophies at different times as an eclectic does, or affirm that they are all right and fine (given their problems) as a pluralist might. Best caring seems to unite the advantages of the various traditional philosophies and to avoid important disadvantages in very specific ways. Seeking what is best is an age-old ideal. As for “caring,” it has traditionally and with sexism been regarded as private, womanish, emotional, and so on. Without sexism, however, we recognize that people must be careful in matters of politics, must carefully calculate in matters of science and mathematics, so care is not limited to the home, the female sex, nor indeed to emotional concerns. Care is an activity that is very encompassing, rational, and therefore, possibly, it is fitting to make best caring as the sum of all our activity made as ideal as possible.
However it should not be thought that I am being one-sided, or extolling best caring ethics as without problems, as one can see in the list of reasons against best caring ethics; and no doubt there are others as well.
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