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Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education, Second Edition, with a New Preface 2nd Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 860-1400361634
ISBN-10: 0520238648
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Editorial Reviews


"Instead of exploring how moral reasoning develops, or attempting to teach moral choice through rational argument, Noddings examines what it means to care and be cared for, how caring for another person relates to the larger moral picture, and how caring ultimately functions in an educational context. . . . Neither a how-to book nor a syrupy celebration of universal love, Caring is both for general readers and specialists."--New York Times -- Review

About the Author

Nel Noddings is Lee Jacks Professor of Education, Emerita, Stanford University. She is the author of Educating Moral People: A Caring Alternative to Character Education (2002), Starting at Home: Caring and Social Policy (2002), Women and Evil (California, 1989), The Challenge to Care in Schools (1992), Educating for Intelligent Belief or Unbelief (1993), and Philosophy of Education (1995).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 225 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 2 edition (June 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520238648
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520238640
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #370,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am somewhat amused by some of the other reviews here. Having gotten some scathing reviews of my own work, it is (sadly) refreshing to see that people will find horrible things to say even about books that are truly brilliant. You truly can't please everyone.

Aesthetically, Nodding's book is a marvel. Unlike what some of the trite student reviewers here would have one believe, Nodding's book is fluidly, lucidly, and tenderly written. Rather than merely spewing psychological rhetoric, Noddings introduces and explains her subject carefully, eloquently, and beatufiully. This book makes it clear that Noddings is not only an educator and thinker but a true writer as well.

Her explanation and development of her arguments for an ethic of care is, in my opinion, unparalleled. I was not reading her book for it's educational implications, and did not read those chapters. I was reading in research of a groundwork for spiritual ethics, and though Noddings is adamant that her ethic is not grounded in agapism (an argument she supports admirably) there is a certain spirituality that underlies her work, though this is not based in any kind of transcendent Goodness, but rather the immanent bonds that hold people and their environment together.

I had been a student and advocate of traditional rights based ethics for years, but reading this book (in conjunction with Carol Gilligan's work) has made a convert of me. Although Noddings stresses the fact that an ethic of care must be situational and each case considered in its context, her ethic also lends itself extremely well as a model for faith (in the sense James Fowler uses the word) and a model for being in the world.

This was truly a paradigm shifting read for me, which is why I give it the 5 stars.
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Format: Paperback
I haven't actually read the whole book, so I can't speak to the educational implications.
However, I have written two term papers on the "Ethic of Care" or "Feminine Ethic" she proposes in the book (which has required me reading that section at least 20 times). I can say that she has written an ethic that is horribly misunderstood by most readers. If you actually take the time to philosophically analyze her theory, you will find it incredibly more complicated than a cursory read shows. The implications of her theory are astounding, and it should not be underappreciated.
There are a few reviews here which make untenable claims about her introducing nothing new to the issue of morality, a completely ludicrous claim. Her Ethic of Care is not simple by any definition, and her book is part of a revolution that centers moral thought on concrete caring relationships instead of abstract, universal concepts such as justice and truth.
Her claim that men and women think about morality differently is not unjustifiable: men ruled philosophical and ethical thought for 2500 years and no ethic of care resulted; women have been on the philosophy scene for about 30 years and a whole revolution in moral thought has taken place, mostly in this direction. If that's not evidence, what is?
Her theory has intrigued me enough to want to buy this book and read beyond the philosophical chapters to those that concentrate more on educational praxis. I would like to teach one day, albeit at a collegiate level, and I think she would offer a very interesting perspective on education and teaching.
P.S. Anyone that teaches at Columbia and Stanford does not write "trash" ipso facto, as some people writing negative reviews have stated.
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I also read this book in a class on ethics and education at Rutgers -- not only did I love the book, the professor and the class were also fascinating. While I will admit that Noddings' terminology takes a little getting used to, I found her ideas to be worthwhile and interesting. Noddings sees the teacher as the "one-caring" and the student as the "cared-for". The teacher's role calls for her to see students as the best that they can be and to accept students for what they are while always working to help them develop the student's "best self". What a phenomenal idea! I am a teacher in a large urban school and often, the kids I teach do not have anyone who believes in their "best selves" -- no one has taught them how to dream and what steps to take to realize that vision. Without dreams and plans, kids can not grow. Many of the kids in my school do not feel there is much out there for them. One of the fundamental ways to reach out to these kids is by CARING. I applaud Noddings for pursuing the road less travelled.
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Caring is a challenging book to read, because Noddings bases her ethical philosophy on an alternative approach to ethics than we are used to seeing. She argues that the relation between a one-caring and a cared-for should be the focus of how we think about right and wrong. As a fairly conservative and religious person, I find that I am uncomfortable at times with how the book is written. However, I think that has more to do with the examples that Noddings uses rather than the theory itself. Despite her wishing to distance herself from a God, I find her ethical theory to be evocative of the Gospels. If readers accept Noddings on her own terms, I think they will find her theory very different and refreshing. I've read the book again now after a few years and even though it can be difficult to read, I think it's very helpful for educators.
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