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The nature of care in light of Emmanuel Levinas

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The discipline of nursing is still struggling with the differences that need to be clearly defined between the notions of care and nursing care. To be able to clarify this distinction, agreement must first be reached on the meaning of care itself. The present article proposes a conception of care in light of the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas (1906–1995). This philosopher’s thought throws considerable light on the ontology of care, thanks especially to his focus on the deeper implications of human encounter. A profound sense of responsibility towards the other enables Levinas to bring out such dimensions of the concept of care as the relation involved, the feeling of affection, and the interventions. We examine here what these entail regarding nursing care.

Keywords: Levinas; care; ethics; nursing; person

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Professeur, Faculté de Philosophie, and 2: Professeure, Faculté des Sciences Infirmières, Université Laval, Québec (Québec), Canada

Publication date: October 1, 2006

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