ENACTIVISM AND CARE ETHICS: MERGING PERSPECTIVES
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Enactivism can be seen as a non-reductive, naturalistic theory of mind and agency that emerged from a set of biological and phenomenological ideas, inspired also by the Buddhist mindfulness tradition. The ethics of care, on the other hand, has established itself as a normative moral theory inspired by feminist moral philosophy and psychology as well as by some more traditional currents in ethics, such as moral sentimentalism, which it developed further in a novel and innovative manner. This paper aims to show that, despite the prima facie differences and separate developmental trajectories, both approaches have put forward, at about the same period of time, a powerful criticism of traditional individualistic and rationalistic accounts of autonomy, cognition, and agency, and have suggested a revision of these notions in terms of a relational ontology with an emphasis on the embodied and situated nature of cognition and agency. The first part of the paper provides a picture of an enactive research program. Its implications for an enactive ethics are discussed as well. In the second part some striking affinities between the enactive approach and the ethics of care are explored.
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