Surviving as a Form of Life

The Ethics of Care as a Critique of the Ideal of the Successful Life: do individuals universally prioritize self-development? In this short book, Frans Vosman challenges this notion, highlighting a cultural group focused on survival. Vosman advocates using ‘form of life’ and ‘cultural class’ to research political ethics, challenging hegemonic ideals.


Do all people live with the ideal of self-development? Frans Vosman shows that there is a cultural class of people who are concerned with something completely different: survival. Survival means difficult everyday living with the steepness of life and the challenges it presents.

Vosman advocates using the concepts of ‘form of life’ and ‘cultural class’ in political-ethical research. ‘Form of life’ helps to move away from the ontological focus in care ethics, which speaks of ‘the relational human being’ and of the human being as a ‘caring animal’. ‘Cultural class’ helps to counter hegemony through ideals.

Survival, as a phenomenon, is so close by that we often fail to acknowledge it as a lifeform, blinded as we are by ideals that suppress this reality. In this lecture, Vosman shows us this reality with intellectual lucidity and with deep empathy for those who live in conditions of survival.

Frans Vosman (1952–2020) was Professor of Care Ethics at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht, The Netherlands. This book presents the full text in English of his valedictory lecture on June 15, 2018, and a bibliography of his publications in English. Per Nortvedt wrote an introduction.

This publication is an initiative of the Foundation Critical Ethics of Care.

The publication is available at the publishers website as paperback and e-book. It is also available here as pdf Open Access

The publication is also available on Amazon

An elaborated text will be available on this website in due course.


About the author: Webteam

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.