Giving and receiving care is a foundational human need. Humans have a tremendous capacity for life-giving care and tragic cruelty. Historically care work and care thinking has been undervalued. However, a general weariness with traditional approaches to the world’s vexing problems has motivated more people to valorize care approaches. No one needs more caring than those who have been exploited and abused. However, how do we care for them when their lives have been so different than ours? It is easy to care for those we are familiar with and much more challenging to care for distant and unfamiliar others.
This presentation addresses the elements of good care—specifically, humble inquiry, inclusive connection, and responsive action. Rather than a formula, these elements are habits or skills of both mind and body that can help us meaningfully engage with the contextual needs of others. Although we may witness patterns among those who require our assistance, everyone has unique needs that require individual attention. This discussion is part of what is referred to as “care ethics” and is framed as a process morality of mind and body that draws from our human capacities. The world desperately needs greater quantity and quality of care to flourish. Valuing and understanding the nature of good care represents a stop in that direction.
Bio for Maurice Hamington
Maurice Hamington is Professor of Philosophy, and Affiliate Faculty in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Portland State University. He is a care ethicist interested in both the theory and application of care. Hamington is a Steering Committee Member of the international Care Ethics Research Consortium, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Hamington has authored Care Ethics and Poetry (Palgrave MacMillan, 2019), written with Ce Rosenow and Embodied Care (University of Illinois Press, 2004). He is currently writing a book on the revolutionary implications of a commitment to care.
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