Ethics of care may be described as a separate current in modern ethical theories which is essentially different from such previously popular and influential branches as deontological and consequentalist ethics. It was developed as an opposition to dominant normative and universal approach developed within Christian Enlightenment traditions paying more attention to conceptualizing ethics as dynamic symbolic relationship between people which should be accommodated to constantly changing and specific conditions of interpersonal interactions. For instance, Gilligan, one of the founders of ethics of care pays more attention to moral behavior in relation to close people and their specific individuality stating that the basic purpose of ethics is not to protect some universal and abstract values but the happiness of close people. Gilligan pays particular attention to such facets of ethics as solidarity, communication, empathy, that is features which were neglected in dominant ethical theories.
Gilligan unlike Noddings and Card is more focused on debunking popular myths and pseudoscientific theories about women’s moral development. For instance, she claims that the point of view saying that boys become morally conscious earlier than girls is biased by gender discrimination. Like Gilligan Noddings develops relational approach to ethics sharply criticizing so called ethics of justice which was developed within European tradition. However, there is no denying the importance of the fact that some basic differences exist between Gilligan and Noddings concerning the role of responsiveness, receptivity and relatedness which according to Noddings are neglected in Gilligan’s work.
Noddings differs from Card in that she distinguishes between natural caring and ethical caring, the first being devoid of any moral meaning (for instance, kissing your friend because you want to do it). Noddings is also criticized by such ethical theorists as Hoagland and Card for developing one-sided approach to caring which focuses only on ‘carer’, which, they say, transforms it into biased one. Card unlike mentioned scholar pays particular attention to the analysis of the category of Evil in the light of recent transformations of modern civilization.