The Ethics of Ambivalence: Maternity, Intersubjectivity and Ethics in Levinas, Merleau-Ponty and Beauvoir

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Title: The Ethics of Ambivalence: Maternity, Intersubjectivity and Ethics in Levinas, Merleau-Ponty and Beauvoir
Author: Adams, Sarah LaChance, 1975-
Abstract: My dissertation is an existential-phenomenological account of human relations and ethics in dialogue with feminist care ethics. Using the work of Emmanuel Levinas, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Simone de Beauvoir, I describe how the ambiguity of human relationships results in an ambivalent ethical orientation, contingent as it is on negotiating the interrelated yet separable interests of the self and the other. Central to my work is a phenomenological description of maternal ambivalence (mothers' simultaneous desires to nurture and reject their children), an empirical case study that demonstrates how the conflicted nature of human relationships operates. Ultimately, I argue that ethical ambivalence is morally productive insofar as it helps one to avoid moral absolutism, recognize the alterity of others, attend to the particularities of situation, and negotiate one's own needs and desires with those of other people. This dissertation includes previously published material.
Description: xii, 278 p.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1794/11532
Date: 2011-06


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