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To what extent, if any, do feminist ethics improve upon traditional ethical theories?

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  • Essay length: 3341 words
  • Submitted: 19/06/2006
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University Degree Religion in Society

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To what extent, if any, do feminist ethics improve upon traditional ethical theories?

Virginia Woolf wrote about medicine 'it would seem is not sexless; she is a man, a father, and infected too'(Woolf 1938).1 This in many ways sums a feminist approach, both to medicine, and to the wider spheres of life. A central view of feminism is that women are oppressed. The male-domination of society has left women 'systematically subordinated' by 'a system which is so familiar, so entrenched in our habits... that it is possible not to notice them at all'.2 Sherwin draws together the oppression of women with that of other groups, providing a broad interpretation of feminism as being a challenge to the domination of women, alongside other subjugated groups; the 'goal of feminism is to pursue the changes necessary to accomplish [change in society]'3

The questioned posed asks if the input of feminist ideas into medicine has improved on traditional ethical theories. A conclusion cannot be drawn without an understanding of some of the issues and theories within 'feminist ethics' and this is where this paper will start. Areas of overlap and argument can be can be identified, both between proponents of

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