Kate Dildy

Wolf Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellow

20192020 Forum on Kinship

Kate Dildy


CAS, 2020

Kate is studying philosophy, with a minor in statistics and interests in global justice, theories of action, and the social components of medical, technological, and scientific innovation.  She has authored a book chapter on the ethical and legal limitations of living wills in medical decision-making for people with dementia and will continue to pursue her related interests in feminist conceptions of autonomy, response ethics, and care ethics during the Wolf Humanities fellowship.  Kate has previously worked on research projects spanning behavioral health economics to the ethics of vulnerability in a commercial context.  She hopes to use her inquiries into the transformative effects of kinship relationships on personal identity to help us develop more compassionate, personally transformative relationships with strangers.  You can find her cooking, biking along the Schuylkill River, taking House and Funk dance classes, or exploring the far corners of Philadelphia.

Starting Close to Home: Relational Care and Global Justice

Cosmopolitanism runs through ideals in ethics, global justice, and theories of cross-cultural exchange, grounded in recognizing the inherent value of all people and demanding respect for individuals’ equal dignity.  Personal obligations to friends and family, or often the abstraction of particular features of kinship relations into the political sphere—as in ethnocentrism and nationalism—may crowd out our ability to fulfill cosmopolitan standards of justice.  Instead of conceiving of special, kinship relationships as a justified exception to cosmopolitan obligations, I conceive of the relationality of kinship ties as the site of study. I argue that relational features of kinship ties can be ethically cultivated outside of narrow networks through the standards of care ethics to produce a cosmopolitanism firmly grounded in human capacity, motivation, and affective states. Then I consider how care ethics as a form of identity transformation can effectively ground solidarity as an instrument for aiming at a cosmopolitan future.