Bubeck thus distinguishes care from “service”, by stipulating that “care” involves meeting the needs for others who cannot meet their needs themselves, whereas “service” involves meeting the needs of individuals who are capable of self-care. She also holds that one cannot care for oneself, and that care does not require any emotional attachment. While some care ethicists accept that care need not always have an emotional component, Bubeck's definitional exclusion of self-care is rejected by other care ethicists who stress additional aspects of care.

I've bolded the bit that confused me most. It seems a bit like the claim is that to care involves doing what only you can, but I'm not at all sure that's right.

Is there a point where "service" shades off into care, perhaps when one obscures other people's needs or sacrifices them to meet the needs of who we care for?

  • Presumably, provided with enough of the proper resources, one could easily care for oneself, although various kinds of support are always welcome if one happens to be devoted to caring for someone who can't take care of themselves (such as children, elderly, ill, injured, or disabled individuals). I think it's a serious mistake to remove the emotional component from caring. Caring is something most people would do, whether compensated for it or not. – Bread Dec 5 '18 at 12:05
  • hmm thanks @Bread should that be "whom we care for" gosh i'm ignorant sorry – user35983 Dec 5 '18 at 18:02

Bubeck appears to be using language stipulatively.

'Self-care'seems to include activities such as eating, bathing, dressing, walking. A person capable of self-care can do these (basic) things but may still need auxiliary support; they may not be able to travel, to negotiate a supermarket, to withdraw money from a cashpoint. The auxiliary support is 'service' so far as I can make out.

The point about 'care' is a logico-linguistic one. Aristotle says that one cannot act justly towards oneself; justice is necessarily directed to other people (Nicomachean Ethics, V, 1138a). Likewise, Bubeck assumes that 'care' is necessarily directed to others or some other. 'To care' is a transitive verb that requires another person, other people or some other (an animal or anything capable of being harmed) as its direct object.

I doubt if ordinary language can be regimented in this way. But this is the best sense I can make of the passage you question.

  • thanks for the answer geoffery. i'll leave the question open in case anyone wants to reply more directly to the question – user35983 Dec 5 '18 at 15:56
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    @confused. Fine - just the right thing to do. Thanks for letting me know. All the best - Geoffrey – Geoffrey Thomas Dec 5 '18 at 17:16

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