What did Carol Gilligan believe earlier researchers into morality had overlooked?
|a. The justice perspective|
b. Sympathetic reactions to moral situations
c. The perspective of females
d. How social environment affects how morality develops
The Correct Answer Is:
c. The perspective of females
Correct Answer Explanation: c. The perspective of females
Carol Gilligan believed that earlier researchers into morality had overlooked the perspective of females. This perspective, which she termed the “care perspective,” emphasizes the importance of relationships, empathy, and compassion in moral reasoning.
Gilligan argued that traditional approaches to studying morality, which were largely based on the experiences of males, tended to prioritize abstract principles of justice and individual rights.
In contrast, the care perspective highlights the value of understanding moral dilemmas from the context of personal relationships and the interconnectedness of individuals.
Gilligan’s work emerged as a response to Lawrence Kohlberg’s widely accepted theory of moral development, which focused primarily on the development of justice-oriented thinking.
Kohlberg’s theory proposed a series of stages through which individuals progress in their moral reasoning, culminating in an abstract understanding of universal principles of justice.
Gilligan, however, critiqued Kohlberg’s theory for its male-centered approach, asserting that it did not adequately capture the moral development of females. She argued that women often exhibited a different mode of moral reasoning, one that prioritized caring, empathy, and maintaining relationships.
According to Gilligan, these values should be considered equally valid and important in the study of morality.
In her groundbreaking book “In a Different Voice,” Gilligan presented her research findings, illustrating how women tend to approach moral dilemmas with a focus on the well-being of others and the preservation of relationships.
She conducted extensive interviews with both men and women and found that women were more likely to consider the impact of their decisions on those involved and to weigh the emotional consequences.
Now, let’s examine why the other options are not correct:
a. The justice perspective:
This option represents the perspective that was already well-covered in earlier research, particularly in the work of Lawrence Kohlberg. Kohlberg’s theory of moral development heavily focused on the development of justice-oriented thinking.
Where individuals progress through stages to reach an abstract understanding of universal principles of justice.
Gilligan’s critique was precisely that this justice perspective overshadowed the care perspective, which she argued was equally valid. She asserted that valuing relationships and empathy in moral decision-making was as crucial as the abstract principles of justice.
b. Sympathetic reactions to moral situations:
While sympathetic reactions to moral situations are indeed an important aspect of moral reasoning and behavior, it was not the central point of Gilligan’s critique.
Her primary contention was that the care perspective. It places emphasis on relationships and empathy, was often overlooked or undervalued compared to the dominant justice-oriented approach.
While sympathy involves understanding and feeling for others, Gilligan was specifically concerned with the broader framework of how individuals approach moral dilemmas. Particularly in terms of caring for others within the context of relationships.
d. How social environment affects how morality develops:
The influence of social environment on moral development is a significant area of study within moral psychology. However, this was not the specific focus of Gilligan’s critique.
Her primary concern was the neglect of the care perspective, characterized by values of empathy, compassion, and relational ethics, rather than a lack of attention to the broader social context in which moral development occurs.
Gilligan’s emphasis on the care perspective highlighted the importance of considering interpersonal relationships and emotional connections in moral reasoning, alongside broader social influences.
In summary, while each of the options presented—justice perspective, sympathetic reactions, and the impact of social environment—holds importance in the field of moral psychology, they were not the central focus of Carol Gilligan’s critique.
Her pivotal contribution was to draw attention to the perspective of females. Which emphasizes care, empathy, and relationships, and to argue for its equal importance alongside the traditional justice-oriented approach in the study of morality.
This perspective continues to shape the way we understand and approach moral development.