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Ontology and attention: addressing the challenge of the amoralist through Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology and care ethics


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Daly, A ORCID: 0000-0002-4832-6611 2022 , 'Ontology and attention: addressing the challenge of the amoralist through Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology and care ethics' , Philosophies, vol. 7 , pp. 1-10 , doi: 10.3390/philosophies7030067.

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This paper addresses the persistent philosophical problem posed by the amoralist—one who eschews moral values—by drawing on complementary resources within phenomenology and care ethics. How is it that the amoralist can reject ethical injunctions that serve the general good and be unpersuaded by ethical intuitions that for most would require neither explanation nor justification? And more generally, what is the basis for ethical motivation? Why is it that we can care for others? What are the underpinning ontological structures that are able to support an ethics of care? To respond to these questions, I draw on the work of Merleau-Ponty, focusing specifically on his analyses of perceptual attention. What is the nature and quality of perceptual attention that underwrite our capacities or incapacities for care? I proceed in dialogue with a range of philosophers attuned to the compelling nature of care, some who have also drawn on Merleau-Ponty and others who have examined the roots of an ethics of care inspired or incited by other thinkers.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Daly, A
Keywords: ontology, attention, perception, ethics, ethics of care, phenomenology, Merleau-Ponty, ethical motivation, the amoralist
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophies
Publisher: MDPI AG
ISSN: 2409-9287
DOI / ID Number: 10.3390/philosophies7030067
Copyright Information:

Copyright: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license (

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