Provocations Faculty Excellence Speaker Series: Richard Bilsker

April 04, 2024
07:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Leonardtown Campus, Building A, Auditorium (Room 206)

Man speaks at a podiumProvocations Faculty Excellence Speaker Series presents:

In a Human Voice: Revisiting Carol Gilligan’s In a Different Voice 40 Years On”

Richard Bilsker, Ph.D.
Professor of Philosophy

April 4, 2024, 7 p.m.
Leonardtown Campus
Building A, Auditorium (Room 206)

In 1982, Carol Gilligan published In a Different Voice, a work whose influence reverberated throughout psychology, the social sciences, and philosophy.  The book was the result of a decade’s work in developmental psychology.  Gilligan was working on a research project with her colleague at Harvard, Lawrence Kohlberg, applying his scale of moral development to children and adults.  Out of this research, Gilligan noted that girls and young women would often approach the thought experiment (the Heinz dilemma) differently than their male counterparts.  Her ideas coalesced into In a Different Voice and has redirected discourse ever since.  In particular, she noted a difference between abstract, impersonal, rule-based ethics (ethic of justice) and concrete situational ethics based on relationships (ethic of care). 

40 years later, Gilligan has revisited the topic.  The result, In a Human Voice, was published in October 2023.  This book returns to the concerns of the original book through a series of discussions of diverse voices in gender studies, silences (topics from the original book that are still ignored), moral theory, and the “different voice” in recent cinema.

Dr Bilsker will discuss using Gilligan’s idea of a “human voice” to talk about how looking more broadly at this different voice can give us a lens for rethinking how we communicate, evaluate popular culture, and do philosophy.  Events of the last few years, COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, January 6, 2021, etc., have given us reason to think that there should be a more human voice in our discourse with each other.

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