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Title:Reason and care: constructing an inclusive moral theory for civic education
Author(s):Lin, Yueh-Mei
Director of Research:Dhillon, Pradeep A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Dhillon, Pradeep A.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Melnick, Arthur; Span, Christopher M.; Pandharipande, Rajeshwari V.; Higgins, Christopher R.
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Educational Policy Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):caring theory
rational moral philosophy
relational ontology
Merleau-Ponty’s and Nāgārjuna’s philosophies
unified neocaring theory of autonomy
information technologies
digital age
Abstract:ABSTRACT My thesis tackles the debate regarding (in)compatibility of rational moral philosophy and caring theory. My thesis argues and demonstrates that by unifying Noddings’ caring theory with ethic(s) of care presented by scholars from social and political science, in both practice and relational ground, the new caring theory not only is compatible with rational moral philosophy, but is also more inclusive and capable to face the challenges derived from the modern information technologies age. My thesis first identifies four core components presented by various caring theorists and then integrates them into a neocaring theory. These four components are caring nature, caring as activity, contextuality or motivation replacement, and relational ontology. Second, I apply both Merleau-Ponty’s theory of intersubjectivity and Nāgārjuna’s philosophy of dependent co-arising to bridge the gap between Noddindgs’ scaring theory and Tront-Hankivsky’s interconnection and interdependent nature. This new relational ground or relational ontology, therefore, is expanded to embrace three characteristics of human existence: first, the fabric of human existence is the synthesized field of subjectivity and objectivity, the public and the private, as well as rationality and affectivity; second, human life is an ongoing process of becoming and synthesizing; and third, humans and sociopolitical activity are interconnected with and interdependent on each other, and thereby, they are mutually conditioned and supplementary . Based on the four core components and three characteristics of neocaring theory, I construct a neocaring theory of autonomy, and meanwhile demonstrate the way in which Kant’s moral autonomy is included in this new theory. In the final chapter, I conclude my thesis by showing the differences that the neocaring theory of autonomy can make compared to that of Kant and neoliberalism with respect to tackling problems emerging from the modern digital age, and administrating higher education, respectively. Lastly, my thesis shows the way in which moral education will affect our society and the formation of citizenship, and the way in which the neocaring theory of autonomy can help to nurture students’ caring mind with reflecting on the interdependent nature of human existence to become a positive netizen in the digital age.
Issue Date:2012-06-27
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Yueh-Mei Lin
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-06-27
Date Deposited:2012-05

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