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Being witness to the lives of the very old

Authors:

Frans Vosman ,

Faculty of Humanities, Department of Religious Studies and Theology, Tilburg University
About Frans
Frans J.H. Vosman (1952) is a professor of moral theology in the Faculty of Humanities, Department of Religious Studies and Theology, Tilburg University, the Netherlands
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Andries Baart

Faculty of Humanities, Department of Religious Studies and Theology, Tilburg University
About Andries
Andries J. Baart (1952) is a professor of philosophy of social studies in the Faculty of Humanities, Department of Religious Studies and Theology, Tilburg University, the Netherlands.
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Abstract

In this article, a foundation is formulated for an ethic of professional care, in which pity and honour play an important role. The authors argue that sincere pity is crucial in the relationship between those who are in need of care and those who provide care, as this capacity and readiness to be moved by the mere presence of the elderly allows care providers and care recipients to meet as equals, thereby providing a focus for the care. This situation generates an opportunity to respect and honour the care recipient. It does not involve ‘honouring’ the social contributions of those who are in need of care; it involves respect for the fact that they are people, just as the care provider is a person. The authors conclude that the combination of pity for and the recognition of those who are very old and in need of care would allow for a more humane caring relationship. The practise of being moved and the practise of honour give rise to an integral political-ethical approach to care within which to chart a professional ethic of care.
DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/jsi.75
How to Cite: Vosman, F. & Baart, A., (2008). Being witness to the lives of the very old. Journal of Social Intervention: Theory and Practice. 17(3), pp.21–32. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/jsi.75
Published on 29 Sep 2008.
Peer Reviewed

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