Nel Noddings speaking

Nel Noddings

Leading philosopher of education, known for her writings on care ethics

One of the most important philosophers of education of the past century, Nel Noddings was generous in her contributions to the work of the Ikeda Center. For many years, she served on the Advisory Council of the Center’s Education Fellows program, helping to ensure that the research of the participating doctoral students was both grounded and ambitious. She also was editor and a contributing writer for the Center’s multi-author volume Educating Citizens for Global Awareness, published by Teachers College Press in 2005. Among other activities with the Center, Dr. Noddings was a featured speaker at the center-sponsored panel on humanistic education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2002 and at the 2009 Ikeda Forum, “John Dewey, Daisaku Ikeda, and the Quest for a New Humanism.” In the world of education, she was best known for her seminal work on care ethics, as presented in Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education; Education and Democracy in the 21st Century. At the time of her death in 2022, she was Lee L. Jacks Professor of Education, Emerita, at Stanford University, and past president of the National Academy of Education, the Philosophy of Education Society, and the John Dewey Society. Whatever she pursued in her influential career, she demonstrated the carefulness of thought evident in this passage: “When we confirm someone, we identify a better self and encourage its development. To do this we must know the other reasonably well. Otherwise we cannot see what the other is really striving for, what ideal he or she may long to make real. Formulas and slogans have no place in confirmation. We do not posit a single ideal for everyone and then announce ‘high expectations for all’.”

Photo: Marilyn Humphries