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Another thought on Justice and Care…

The marriage of Justice and Care seems to be a lot older than the 1980’s. In Chapter 11 of Book 8 of his “Nicomachean Ethics” Aristotle examined the relationship between Justice and Friendship and found that where one is absent, the other is usually also absent. “But in the deviation-forms [of government], as justice hardly exists, so too does friendship. It exists least in the worst form; in tyranny there is little or no friendship. For where there is nothing common to ruler and ruled, there is not friendship either, since there is not justice…” (Aristotle). Earlier Aristotle had defined Friendship as mutual caring between people, and distinguished it from one-sided forms of love and other one-sided relationships. “Of the love of lifeless objects we do not use the word ‘friendship’; for it is not mutual love, nor is there a wishing of good to the other… but to a friend we say we ought to wish what is good for his sake.” (Aristotle “Ethics” Bk 8 Ch 2). So to Aristotle both Justice and Friendship/Care are essential for a good society. You can’t have one without the other. So it seems that the ideas developed by feminist ethicists in the 1980’s (adding the care perspective to justice) have much older antecedents.

Aristotle. “The Internet Classics Archive | Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle”. Nicomachean Ethics. Trans. William David Ross. 1908. The Internet Classics Archive. Daniel C. Stevenson. 2000. MIT. 6 Aug 2007 .

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