Kristin Pierce, Pacific Lutheran University
This paper developed in response to the promotion of certain “core values” by Pacific Lutheran University’s School of Nursing. It engages some of the epistemic problems raised by accepting those core values without exploring the implications of theory on practice. As a nurse, one is expected to “care”; but as a “carer,” who is left to determine the limits of that care?
In my paper I look at caring as an act of an individual; something that one does to another, also an act amenable to epistemic and aesthetic scrutiny. When we look at caring from an aesthetic (arguably ethical) perspective, we are asking the question: “How do we recognize quality in the act of caring?” I attempt to provide an answer to this question through the investigation of three prominent epistemologies of caring, attending to their distinctions and commonalties. I then turn to a critique of the (implicit) attributes of a carer, and make suggestions for revision of current epistemologies of caring. I conclude with an articulation of the links between an epistemology and an ethical system, reiterating the necessity for an ethical practice to be supported by a strong theoretical foundation.