Male/Female prespective and moral judgement
097/479 23 Jan 90 21:23:53
From: Kirsten Emmott
Subj: jake and amy
(from Rites for a New Age, by Michael Ingham: first of 8 paragraphs)
Is there a difference between male and female perspectives?
Women scholars say "yes." Harvard educationalist Carol Gilligan, in an
important book called "In a Different Voice", tells the story of Jake and Amy.
These two children, both 11 years old, and in the same sixth-grade
class at school, participated in a study to determine whether sex roles
influence the measuring of human moral development. Gilligan describes Jake and
Amy as bright and articulate, but not stereotypical of sex-roles since Amy
wanted to be a scientist and Jake preferred English to math. In the study, they
were each asked to respond to the folowing moral dilemma.
A man named Heinz must decide whether to steal in order to
save the life of his wife. she has been diagnosed with a seirous illness, the
cure to which is an expensive drug which Heinz cannot afford. The druggist
refuses to give the drug to Heinz without payment, so he must decide what to do
to get it. Faced with this problem, Jake and Amy responded in different ways.
Jake was clear that Heinz' moral duty was to steal the drug. With
unswerving logic, he constructed the dilemma as a conflict between two
principles; the right to property and the right to life. Where moral
principles conflict, Jake argued, there is a heirarchy of values which one
must apply. Life is a higher value than property, so Heinz must steal. He was
quite certain that, under the circumstances, Heinz
Amy, on the other hand, felt that theft was not the answer. She
was concerned that if Heinz were caught and went to jail, his wife would be
even worse off. She constructed the dilemma as one of misunderstanding. The
druggist could not have understood the situation.
If Heinz were to take his wife to meet the druggist, she was sure
the situation could be resolved. Failing that, Heinz should try to borrow the
money or promise to pay the druggist back later. Amy was certain that there
was another solution to the problem than the one posed in the initial
explanation of the dilemma.
The conclusion Gilligan draws ( in this one of many examples
in teh book) is that Jake and Amy see the situation from a different
perspective. they boy looks at the issue with a logic based on a heirarchy of
values. They girl looks at the issue with a concern for human relationships.
Both agree that the life must be saved, but he resolves the problem by applying
rights and responsibilities, while she resolves the probllem by applying
dialogue and co operation.
In another project, Gilligan sutdied sex-role differences in
children's games. She noted that boys tend to play competitive games, whereas
girls tend to play co-operative games when both are in same- gender groups.
Whenever disputes arise, she observed, boys and girls react to them
differently. boys tend to resolve disputes by appealing to the rules of the
game. Failing any general agreement, the matter is usually ended by tossing a
coin or taking the play over again. In girls' games, however, disputes more
kusually end in the termination of the game itself. This fact....has usually
been taken to mean that girls are less emotionally and morally mature than
boys. Gilligan, however, argues that for girls relationships are more
important than outcomes. who wins is secondary to who stays friends. This is
not underdevelopment, but a different perspective on values.
Gilligan's general conclusions, based on many such projects,
is that men are socialized early on in their development to consitruct the
moral universe in terms of principles and hierarchies, while women are
socialized early on to think and feel in terms of connections and
relationships..... (end of this quote)
* Origin: PSG Vancouver (Opus 1:153/4)
057/480 06 Feb 90 08:57:52
From: Elissa Schroeder
To: Barry Brenesal
Subj: RE: JAKE AND AMY
I'm not familiar with Ingram, but the studies exemplified in the "Jake and Amy"
vignette posted here are derived pretty directly from the research of Carol
Gilligan, who is a respected researcher in the area of ethics and moral
development. She is not a male-basher, or a sexist, in my opinion.
Gilligan began her work at a time when Kohlberg was still the leading authority
on moral development, and when his hierarchies (based on HIS research following
college students through four years at Harvard) were accepted pretty
uncritically in the field. Using his hierarchies, later researchers were
obtaining results that appeared to support Freud's earlier work to the effect
that women have less highly developed consciences than men do. Gilligan did a
massive review of this entire literature and concluded that the Kohlberg
hierarchies were themselves skewed to favor a rights-based morality (which is
more common in males) over a responsibility-based morality (which is more
common in females).
Subsequent research building on Gilligan's hypotheses has elaborated some of
the differences between rights-oriented and responsibility-oriented
perspectives in psychology generally and in cognition particularly. The best
review of this (growing) literature in a book available in paperback now called
"Women's Way of Knowing", by four female psychologists. Unfortunately, though
I've purchased three copies of this book, I have loaned or given them all away,
and can't cite the authors or pertinent text. If anyone's interested, this
could probably be arranged ... :-)
I am aware that there is one approach to feminism which decries *ANY* emphasis
on the differences between men and women, since an overemphasis on differences
has in the past (and present!) been used to suggest that women are *SO*
different from men that we practically constitute a different species. There
is the danger, however, that this concern can lead to a suppression of data
about differences which really do exist.
If Gilligan is correct (and it looks like she is) the differences she is
exploring exist between men GENERALLY and women GENERALLY. *WHY* these
differences exist, and whether they should be deplored or celebrated, are
separate issues. I think it is understandable that we should have difference
of opinion what to do about these findings, but I would argue that the one
thing we should NOT do is suppress it in over-zealous concern that it might
"be" sexist, since it addresses gender differences. All suppression does is
keep us in the dark a few generations longer ...
--- TMail v1.13
* Origin: Secular Humanist Exchange, Lewisville NC 919-945-3847 (1:151/606)
058/480 07 Feb 90 18:31:00
From: Gary Smith
To: Elissa Schroeder
Subj: Re: RE: JAKE AND AMY
In a message to Barry Brenesal <02-06-90 08:57> Elissa Schroeder wrote:
ES> The best review
ES> of this (growing) literature in a book available in
ES> paperback now called "Women's Way of Knowing", by four
ES> female psychologists. Unfortunately, though I've purchased
ES> three copies of this book, I have loaned or given them all
ES> away, and can't cite the authors or pertinent text. If
ES> anyone's interested, this could probably be arranged ...
Since I have one of the three copies of the book that Elissa has loaned or
given away, I'll cite the authors & publisher:
Women's Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind
Mary Field Belenky, Blythe McVicker Clinchy, Nancy Rule Goldberger,
and Jill Mattuck Tarule. Basic Books, Inc., 1986.
--- QuickBBS v2.61 [REGISTERED]
* Origin: Humanities Forum - Gray, TN - 615/477-4394 (1:116/12.0)