Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Philosophy (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Michael Slote

Second Committee Member

Keith Lehrer

Third Committee Member

Risto Hilpinen

Fourth Committee Member

Marilyn Friedman


In recent years, sentimentalist care ethics has been developed and defended as a normative ethical theory alongside and in opposition to Kantian liberalism. Carol Gilligan introduced the idea of a woman’s moral perspective that emphasizes maintaining relationships and responding to need, and saw it as a different way of framing moral issues. Care ethics is no longer associated only with women, and it is presented as a theory for both men and women that has its own distinctive accounts of ethical notions like justice and autonomy. These accounts have developed from analyses of injustice towards women and uncaring attitudes that they face in patriarchal societies, but ironically, care ethics has failed to discuss women’s anger at their own mistreatment, and their inability to deal with that anger. This notable lacuna in the care ethics literature is of philosophical importance because analyzing the phenomenon of women’s anger uncovers epistemic issues that have not been addressed. I discuss these epistemic issues in order to strengthen care ethics from within and extend it into other areas of ethics. My goal is to make care ethics a real contender among normative ethical theories and a truly feminist ethic.


care ethics; self-trust; epistemic personhood; women's anger; self-respect; empathy for dependency