The Ethics of Need: Agency, Dignity, and Obligation argues for the philosophical importance of the notion of need and for an ethical framework through which we can determine which needs have moral significance. In the volume, Sarah Clark Miller synthesizes insights from Kantian and feminist care ethics to establish that our mutual and inevitable interdependence gives rise to a duty to care for the needs of others. Further, she argues that we are obligated not merely to meet others’ needs but to do so in a manner that expresses "dignifying care," a concept that captures how human interactions can grant or deny equal moral standing and inclusion in a moral community. She illuminates these theoretical developments by examining two cases where urgent needs require a caring and dignifying response: the needs of the elderly and the needs of global strangers. Those working in the areas of feminist theory, women’s studies, aging studies, bioethics, and global studies should find this volume of interest.

chapter |14 pages


chapter |28 pages

The Duty to Care

chapter |24 pages

The Manner of Meeting Needs

chapter |23 pages

The Margins of Agency

Caring for the Fundamental Needs of Old Age

chapter |15 pages

Global Needs and Care

Introducing Cosmopolitan Care

chapter |9 pages


Future Needs