Admirable immorality, dirty hands, care ethics, justice ethics, and child sacrifice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Using five different child-sacrifice cases, I argue that the relationship between the ethics of care and the ethics of justice is not that one is wholly right while the other is morally wrong or irrelevant, or that one somehow has priority over the other, or that one is supererogatory while the other is required, or that one is a role ethic while the other is a real ethic, or that they are equivalent. Instead, I propose that the ethics of justice and care are simply descriptions of the virtues of justice and care, understood richly and broadly. Each prescribes perceptions, values, self-conceptions, etc. as well as actions and passions in every sphere of human life. Like other actual (rather than idealized) virtues, justice and care sometimes conflict with each other. They demand incompatible actions, passions, perceptions, etc. The available options in conflict situations feel both right and wrong because they are admirably immoral acts and/or dirty hands acts. I argue that these conflicts do not undermine the primacy, practicality or consistency of morality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-244
Number of pages18
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


Dive into the research topics of 'Admirable immorality, dirty hands, care ethics, justice ethics, and child sacrifice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this