Posted by: ellen | March 2, 2009

12 – Annette C. Baier: The Need for More than Justice

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems: The Need for More Than Justice by Annette Baier

Library Reference: N/A

Amazon.com Reference: http://www.amazon.com/Contemporary-Moral-Problems-James-White/dp/0495553204/

Quote: Justice as Fairness is not a complete contract theory. For it is clear that the contract idea can be extended to a choice of more or less an entire ethical system, that is, to a system including principles for all the virtues and not only for justice.

Learning Expectation: On this sub-chapter, I am thinking if I will learn:

· What is Theory of Justice according to John Rawls

· His two principles of Justice and how the two differ from each other.

Review:

A distinguishes between the justice perspective of philosophers such as Kant and Rawls and the care perspective Gilligan found in her studies of the moral development of women. Baier argues that the justice perspective by itself in inadequate as a moral theory. It overlooks inequalities between people, it has an unrealistic view of freedom of choice, and it ignores the importance of moral emotions such as love. The best moral theory, she claims, is one that harmonizes justice and care.

I do agree on what Baier said that the best moral theory is the harmonized justice and care because I also do think that they go hand in hand with each other. Justice will be at the corner if a person does have care for each other. With care, people will know that they already hurt other and will do something to compensate for what they have done wrong.

She also discusses the theory of moral development which she said has two dimensions; the first is to aim at achieving satisfying community with others, the other aiming at autonomy or equality of power. The relative predominance of one over the other development will depend both upon the relative salience of the two evils in early childhood, and on early and later reinforcement or discouragement in attempts made to guard against these two evils. Baier said that these provides the germs of a theory about why, given current customs of childrearing, it should be mainly woman who are not content with only the moral outlook that she calls the justice perspectives, necessary though that was and is seem by them so have been to their hard worn liberation from sexist oppression. They, like the blacks, used the language of rights and justice to change their own social position, but nevertheless see limitations in that language, according to Gilligan’s findings as a moral psychologist. She reports the “discontent: with the individualist more or less Kantian moral frame woks that dominates Western moral theory and which influenced moral psychologist such as Lawrence Kohlberg, to whose conception of moral maturity she seeks an alternatives. The target of Gilligan’s criticism is the dominant Kantian traditions.

What I have learned:

The main topic that I learned is the Justice and Care should be hand in hand. Justice will be at the corner if a person does have care for each other. With care, people will know that they already hurt other and will do something to compensate for what they have done wrong. There is no need for too much enforcement because people already know what the proper thing to do is.

Review Questions:

  1. Distinguish between the justice and care perspectives. According to Gilligan, how do these perspectives develop?
  2. Explain Kohlberg’s theory of moral development. What criticisms do Gilligan and Baier make of this theory?
  3. Baier says there are three important differences between Kantian liberals and their critics. What are these differences?
  4. Why does Baier attack the Kantian view that the reason should control unruly passions?

Answers:

1. She distinguishes between the justice perspective of philosophers such as Kant and Rawls and the care perspective Gilligan found in her studies of the moral development of women. Baier argues that the justice perspective by itself in inadequate as a moral theory. It overlooks inequalities between people, it has an unrealistic view of freedom of choice, and it ignores the importance of moral emotions such as love. The best moral theory, she claims, is one that harmonizes justice and care.

2. The theory of moral development has two dimensions the first is to aim at achieving satisfying community with others, the other aiming at autonomy or equality of power. The relative predominance of one over the other development will depend both upon the relative salience of the two evils in early childhood, and on early and later reinforcement or discouragement in attempts made to guard against these two evils. Baier said that these provides the germs of a theory about why, given current customs of childrearing, it should be mainly woman who are not content with only the moral outlook that she calls the justice perspectives, necessary though that was and is seem by them so have been to their hard worn liberation from sexist oppression. They, like the blacks, used the language of rights and justice to change their own social position, but nevertheless see limitations in that language, according to Gilligan’s findings as a moral psychologist. She reports the “discontent: with the individualist more or less Kantian moral frame woks that dominates Western moral theory and which influenced moral psychologist such as Lawrence Kohlberg, to whose conception of moral maturity she seeks an alternatives. The target of Gilligan’s criticism is the dominant Kantian traditions.

3. The three important differences between Kantian liberals and critics Baier says are, first it was dubious record, second was its inattention to relations inequality or its pretence of equality. The third reason is its exaggeration of scoop of choice, or its inattention to unchosen relations.

4. Baier attacked the Kantians view because the Kantian picture of a controlling reason dictating to possibly unruly passions also tends to seem less useful when we are led to consider what sort of person we need to fill the role of parent, or indeed want in any close relationship. It might be important to fathers figure to have rational control over their violent urges to beat to death the children whose screams enrage them, but more than control of such nasty passions seems needed in the mother or primary parent, or parent-substitute by most psychological theories. They need to love their children’s not just to control their irritation so the emphasis in Kantian theories on rational control of emotions. Rather than on cultivating desirable forms of emotions, in challenged by Gilligan, along with the challenge to the assumption of the centrality of autonomy, or relations between equals, and of freely chosen relations.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does Baier mean when she speaks of the need “to transvalue the values of our patriarchal past”? Do new values replace the old ones? If so, then do we abandon the old values of justice, freedom, and right?
  2. What is wrong with the Kantian view that extends equal rights to all rational beings, including women and minorities? What would Baier say? What do you think?
  3. Baier seems to reject the Kantian emphasis on freedom of choice. Granted, we do not choose our parent, but still don’t we have freedom of choice about many things, and isn’t this very important?

Answers:

1. “ To transvalue the values of our patriarchal past “ this is what Baier speaks meaning to say that we have to continue the ancestral values that we carry out on everyday living for example the work of the wife are to do all the households choirs and have the obligation to take care of their children’s while the husband is the one who need to work to provide the needs of the family and now it doesn’t mean that the new values replace the old ones but the point is because of the poverty both of them are now working just to sustain their primary needs like foods, clothes, shelter and education.

2. The wrong about the Kantian view is that people will feel that they are obliged to do the things they want or not wanted to do. I think that since women and children has the equal rights to the adult, then their duty is the same as the adult which is unfair, they needed to be protected first.

I think Baier would say that those people shouldn’t feel any force obligation on their shoulder.

3. It is very important because we are here on this world by fate, but fate doesn’t give us everything we needed to be called as grown up man/woman. We have our own choices because by doing this we learned the things that school can teach us. In addition, we also learned about certain instances in life in where it can define who you really are.

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