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Coming to LifePhilosophies of Pregnancy, Childbirth and Mothering$
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Sarah LaChance Adams and Caroline R. Lundquist

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823244607

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823244607.001.0001

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Introduction: The Philosophical Significance of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Mothering

Introduction: The Philosophical Significance of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Mothering

(p.1) Introduction: The Philosophical Significance of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Mothering
Coming to Life

Sarah Lachance Adams

Caroline Lundquist

Fordham University Press

In this chapter the anthology's editors provide an overview of some of the extant philosophical considerations of pregnancy, childbirth and mothers, attending in the process to the historical neglect and misappropriation of each. Reflecting on the relationship between philosophy and feminist theory, they call for a reexamination of some deep philosophical prejudices that so often bar conventional philosophers from taking feminist philosophy, or women's experiences, seriously. First, they consider the view that the personal is opposed to the philosophical. Next they address the perennial problem of essentialism in the light of Iris Young's notion of gender as seriality. Young's approach is offered as a way to navigate the personal and the theoretical while avoiding the sweeping claims that characterize essentialist philosophical theory. The authors further note that “feminine” experiences such as pregnancy, childbirth, and mothering have the power to radically challenge and in many cases undermine conventional, often fundamental beliefs about the nature of human subjectivity and intersubjectivity, humanity's relationship to the natural world, and the nature and purpose of ethics, to name just a few.

Keywords:   philosophical canon, feminist theory, pregnancy, childbirth, mothering, essentialism, phenomenology, ethics, politics, Iris Young

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