Virginia Held
Held at CUNY in 2013
Virginia Potter Held

October 28, 1929 (1929-10-28) (age 94)
InstitutionsColumbia University, Hunter College, CUNY Graduate Center
Main interests
Ethics of care, feminist ethics, morality of political violence

Virginia Potter Held (born October 28, 1929) is an American moral, social/political and feminist philosopher whose work on the ethics of care sparked significant research into the ethical dimensions of providing care for others and critiques of the traditional roles of women in society.[2][3][4]


Held defends care ethics as a moral framework distinct from Kantian, utilitarian and virtue ethics.[2] She holds that care is fundamental to human institutes and practices, indeed to our survival. Tong and Williams[3] quote: "There can be no ju[s]tice without care…for without care no child would survive and there would be no persons to respect."[5]

Held's work on the morality of political violence viewed through the window of ethics of care has also been significantly influential.[6]


Held was named Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York – Graduate Center and Hunter College in 1996.

She received her Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University in 1968 and worked at Hunter College as lecturer (1965–69), assistant professor (1969–72), associate professor (1973–77) and full professor from 1977 to her retirement in 2001. Held was affiliated with the CUNY Graduate Center in 1973, and served as deputy executive officer of the Philosophy program at the CUNY Graduate Center from 1980 to 1984. She also served as president of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association in 2001–2002.[7]

Selected works


Chapters in books

Journal articles

Encyclopedia articles

For further works see C.V.[7]


  1. ^ Karen, Kovach (2005), "Held, Virginia Potter (1929–)", in Shook, John R. (ed.), The dictionary of modern American philosophers (4 volume set), Bristol: Thoemmes Continuum, pp. 1083–1084, ISBN 9781843710370
  2. ^ a b Saunder-Sault, Maureen (2011). Care Ethics. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  3. ^ a b Tong, Williams, Rosemarie, Nancy (2009). Feminist Ethics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Smiley, Marion (June 1999). "Norms and Values: Essays on the Works of Virginia Held.(Review)". American Political Science Review. Archived from the original on June 10, 2014. Retrieved December 30, 2013 – via HighBeam Research.
  5. ^ Virginia Held, The Ethics of Care 2006, p. 17
  6. ^ "How Terrorism Is Wrong: Morality and Political Violence". Times Higher Education. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Held, Virginia. "Virginia Held Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  8. ^ Held, Virginia. "Feminism and Political Theory", in The Blackwell Guide to Social and Political Philosophy, ed. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers, 2002.
  9. ^ Held, Virginia. "Rights: Moral and Legal", in A Companion to Feminist Philosophy, Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell, 1998.
  10. ^ Held, Virginia. "Feminist Social and Political Philosophy", in Encyclopedia of Philosophy Supplement, New York: Macmillan, 1997.
  11. ^ Held, Virginia. "Power." Def. P. Blackwell Encyclopedic Dictionary of Business Ethics. 1 ed. New York: Macmillan, 1998. Print.
  12. ^ Held, Virginia. "Mass Media" and "Moral Pluralism", in Encyclopedia of Ethics, New York: Garland Publishing Inc., 1992.