Care, Poetry, and Moral Progress

  • Maurice HamingtonEmail author
  • Ce Rosenow


In this chapter, poetry is addressed as a vehicle for moral progress within a care approach. We begin this chapter by defining our terms given that moral progress is a contested idea. In particular, we look at the notion of moral progress as expressed by philosophers such as John Dewey, Richard Rorty, and Martha Nussbaum. The argument here is that growth is built into the DNA of care ethics and that by definition, it cannot offer a static normative position, particularly at the level of contextually informed action. Accordingly, care ethics is open to moral progress in a way that typical moral systems of adjudication are not. We turn to the amorphous category of “avant-garde” poetry because of its explicit quest for social justice to interrogate the potential contribution of poetry to create a more caring world. Care is a “different voice” of morality and poetry is an alternative voice of the human conversation. Engaging poetry brings the potential for individual growth and thus moral progress as defined by care.


Moral progress Avant-garde poetry Different voice 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Portland State UniversityPortlandUSA
  2. 2.Lane Community CollegeEugeneUSA

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