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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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Original Habitation

Original Habitation

Pregnant Flesh as Absolute Hospitality

(p.71) 3 Original Habitation
Coming to Life

Frances Gray

Fordham University Press

In this paper, I argue that the fundamental intrinsic relatedness of all human life expressed in the relationship between the pregnant woman and her ‘second subject’, the foetus, is the pre-condition for the plurality of subjects that necessarily constitutes all human subjectivity. I argue that pregnant flesh anticipates the possibility of mutual intersubjective understanding, as an elemental communion evolves between two subjects cohabiting in one flesh. Using the metaphor of pregnant flesh as hospitality, I argue that pregnant flesh is ethically primitive. Using the idea of the ethical primitiveness of the flesh as original hospitality, I interrogate Jacques Derrida's notion of hospitality as a relation between host and guest. I argue that that pregnancy is more like letting sparrows nest in one's rafters than it is like offering hospitality in the anticipatory, welcoming sentiment of Derrida's account. Lastly, I briefly examine the implications of my argument for the question of abortion and unwanted pregnancy.

Keywords:   Hospitality, pregnant flesh, intersubjectivity, ethical primitiveness

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