Noddings’ theory of caring, which is nearing its 35th anniversary, has failed to garner the attention of the more classical theories of ethics. This slight may be due to its relative youth, or the historical support for other constructs, but if examined through the lens of evolutionary biology, the validity of Noddings might be tested. Using recent discoveries from the emerging fields of cognitive ethology and neuroscience, I have evaluated whether there exists evolutionary underpinnings for her theory. My analysis makes it apparent that the empathy and altruism required for the practice of caring are as much a product of our natural instincts as our selfish tendencies are. Armed with this information, one must draw the conclusion that the ethic of caring, unlike other ethical theories, is not grounded in a cultural construct of what is right but in a natural one.
Niedermeyer, Walter Jason
"Why Do We Care?: A Natural History of Noddings’ Ethical Theory,"
Between the Species:
1, Article 5.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/bts/vol22/iss1/5