SAAP Annual Meeting 2015

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Morality for Humans, Or Is Mark Johnson A Closeted Care Ethicist?

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In Morality for Humans: Ethical Understandings from the Perspective of Cognitive Science (2014), Mark Johnson continues his research trajectory that bridges the gap between philosophy and cognitive science aided by analysis from American pragmatists, in particular, John Dewey. This paper recommends opening a dialogue between Johnson’s work and contemporary care theorists. There are numerous resonances between Johnson’s moral framework and care theory, and more importantly, Johnson’s work has the potential to contribute to a robust theory of care that emphasizes the embodied and performative dimensions of caring which contribute to knowledge creation and identity formation as well as moral action. This dialogue is important because there remains a paucity of interchange between pragmatists and care theorists despite the potential for generative interplay. This presentation mines Johnson’s work for tools to enrich care theory. In particular, it considers Johnson’s approach to naturalism, and his use of Dewey’s notion of dramatic rehearsal.


Maurice Hamington    
University of Oregon/Lane Community College
United States


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