Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science


Vernon, Richard

2nd Supervisor

Jones, Charles



Care ethics is a feminist normative theory that emphasizes the moral significance of our relational interdependency in the provision and receipt of care. On this view, ethical action is situated and evaluated as it emerges through caring relations. However, an oft-cited criticism of care ethics is that its normative frontiers cannot be extended to the wider concerns of justice that lie beyond our relational limits. In this dissertation, I outline and defend an interpretation of care ethics that shows how the values of care identified within our personal relations can be abstracted to show that we do have certain obligations not only to our contemporaries (near and far) but also to non-contemporaries – namely, future generations. In doing so, I develop outlines for conceiving care ethics as a cosmopolitan theory of distributive justice via an interest theory of human rights, and as a sufficientarian theory of intergenerational justice.