Abortion and Challenges of Applied Ethics

Article excerpt

ABORTION AND CHALLENGES OF APPLIED ETHICS Review of Mihaela Frunza, Tematizari în eticile aplicate. Perspective feministe (The-matizations in Applied Ethics. Feminist Perspectives), (Cluj-Napoca: Limes Publishing House, 2009), 168p.

Key Words: applied ethics, the ethics of care, the ethics of abortion, feminism, conservatism, liberalism, religions

Currently in Romania there are issues that are insufficiently addressed by the real experts. One of them is that of applied issues. There are some perspectives of interpretation of the insufficiently explored applied ethics of today in Romania and one of them is the feminist one.

With her new book Tematizari în eticile aplicate (Thematizations in Applied Ethics. Feminist Perspectives), Mihaela Frunza provides clarifications that cover both gaps. She manages to offer, in only 168 pages, a thorough and professional analysis of applied ethics from a feminist perspective, similar to the books signed by Mihaela Miroiu and Anca Gheau?, Daniela Cuta? and Gabriela Blebea Nicolae.

Mihaela Frunza's research falls within the paradigm of Paul Ricoeur, "L'universel et l'historique". It focuses on the classic clash between universalism and relativism. Yet, with refinement and elegance, the author of Thematizations in Applied Ethics succeeds in avoiding the Manichean-type trap: universalism vs. relativism. Mihaela Frunza states the fact that "the post-modern ethical relativism does not scatter all values, and the ways of interpretation of the universal can be very different"1.

An expert in the history of philosophy, Mihaela Frunza connects applied ethics" to various practical expressions of the classical philosophical thought, "from Plato's writings about the way in which justice is used; Augustin and Toma d'Aquino's writings about the right war; Hume's writings about suicide or John Stuart Mill's writings about women's liberation"2.

Another merit of the book is that it familiarizes the Romanian reader with the latest Western bibliography. I would have liked to find this bibliography in alphabetical order at the end of the book, together with a thematic index and also an index of the authors. Among the names mentioned, I have also found the polemic between Robert Baker & Laurence Mc. Cullogh and Albert Jonsen & Tom Beauchamp regarding "the approximation/implementation" of contemporary ethics into classical philosophy. Special consideration is given to the philosopher/sociologist Gilles Lipovetsky, who advanced the theory regarding the hyper consumption and postmodernity in culture, concerned especially with the repudiation of universal ethics, which is of Kantian inspiration.

Mihaela Frunza's preferences go to Goran Lantz, with his applied holist ethics. Such an interpretation does not ignore the different social, political, anthropological contexts in which ethics manifests itself. This fact is well supported in chapter III of the book ("The Issue of the Universality of Ethical Standards and Values"). Furthermore, a pertinent classification of ethics, namely the feminine, maternal, feminist and lesbian ethics follows.

The second part of the book is more practical, focusing on two great typologies: the ethics of care and the ethics of abortion. The founding of the ethics of care is solid, with reference to important philosophers, such as Immanuel Kant, Michel Foucault, Martin Heidegger etc. A special place is held by Carol Gilligan's theory, presented in a clear manner, with pros and cons. The thesis that the author from Cluj states is that Gilligan's vision on the ethics of care "relates conceptually and philosophically to the segment - that is in a continuous development - of applied ethics"3. The question of Mihaela Frunza is whether and to what extent "this model of the ethics of care is or not compatible to the ethics of justice of liberal nature"4. The author's answer is positive and based on the "feminist criticism" signed by Margaret Morre, Chris Crittenden, Grace Clement, Daryl Koehn, Joan Tronto etc. …