Fatherhood - Philosophy for Everyone offers fathers wisdom and practical advice drawn from the annals of philosophy. Both thought-provoking and humorous, it provides a valuable starting and ending point for reflecting on this crucial role.
In Re D is the most recent in a line of cases to raise problems with the determination of legal fatherhood under s.28(3) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. The judgments in In Re D are interesting in particular because they demonstrate the growing currency of the idea that a child has a right to ‘genetic truth’. They also further evidence the ‘fragmentation of fatherhood’. This case is best understood as part of a complex and ongoing (...) negotiation of men’s role in the family in the light of shifting family forms. (shrink)
In this paper, we present the first stage of an empirical bioethics project exploring the moral sources of paternal responsibilities and rights. In doing so, we present both (1) data on men's normative constructions of fatherhood and (2) the first of a two-stage methodological approach to empirical bioethics. Using data gathered from 12 focus groups run with UK men who have had a variety of different fathering experiences (n = 50), we examine men's perspectives on how paternal responsibilities and (...) rights are generated and the significance of the genetic connection within the father–child relationship. We do not attempt to explore men's experiences of fatherhood or their fathering practices; and neither is the analysis driven from a particular sociological perspective. Rather, we explore men's normative constructions of fatherhood in order to present accessible data that might be of significance to the philosophical/moral debate on the sources of paternal rights and responsibilities. (shrink)
This paper describes the meaning of a father’s presence with a full-term healthy child delivered by caesarean section, as observed during the routine post-operative separation of mother and child. Videotaped observations recorded at a maternity clinic located in the metropolitan area of Stockholm, Sweden formed the basis for the study, in which fifteen fathers with their infants participated within two hours of elective caesarean delivery in the 37th - 40th week of pregnancy. A phenomenological analysis based on Giorgi’s method was (...) conducted on the data. The description of the new father’s experiences that emerged pointed to a process of being and becoming in taking the child to himself. Fatherhood developed gradually as a result of recurrent experiences of the child’s expressions. There was an ebb and flow between taking on the role of being a father and physical withdrawal from the role. The findings of this study not only confirm previous accounts of new fathers’ experiences, but go further in revealing an ebb and flow variation in the fathers’ involvement. What this indicates is that the process of transition to fatherhood requires not only presence but time. The period required for this process thus must not be disturbed, but supported, trusting in the father’s ability to assume his role as a father. It is suggested that, in addition to their relevance in guiding the attitudes and expectations of those professionally involved in postnatal care and community health, these findings could be useful in antenatal courses for parents, and especially in instances when caesarean birth is planned, to highlight the meaning of the role of fathers as caregivers. Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology , Volume 6, Edition 2 August 2006. (shrink)
This essay offers a philosophical analysis of the role of the father-figure in the family. I argue that a Cartesian approach to this question is useless, and that Hegel, while he offers the beginning of an adequate analysis, falls short of the multiple-function model which an adequate analysis requires.
Locke's political theory centres on juridical matters of law, right, consent and legitimacy. Despite his concern to differentiate politics from family and posit a free and equal post-familial individual as political subject, this apparently abstract political theory is itself conveyed through a narrative of family. Locke rejects patriarchal absolutism that casts the king as a patriarchal father by thinking politics through alternative conceptions of father, sons and brothers. As such, Locke did not in fact help muster liberalism by instantiating a (...) vivid public-private divide that insulated the political imagination from ideas of family. (shrink)
Hard cases make bad law. In a matter of months, two such cases involving assisted reproduction have appeared before the U.K. High Court and legislation has been enacted. The common threads between them are consent and fatherhood. The first case concerns a ‘mistake’ resulting in sperm from the wrong man being used to create an embryo for a couple and the second the revocation of consent by a man to his former partner being allowed to use an embryo they (...) created together. Furthermore, Parliament has intervened, passing legislation which sets out when sperm from a dead man may be used by his former partner to generate an embryo. This note argues that the three developments cannot be reconciled with one another and that the cases in particular, decided on a narrow legal basis, convey contradictory messages, leading in at least one instance to a gross injustice. (shrink)
Of all the changes to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 that were introduced in 2008 by legislation of the same name, foremost to excite media attention and popular controversy was the amendment of the so-called welfare clause. This clause forms part of the licensing conditions which must be met by any clinic before offering those treatment services covered by the legislation. The 2008 Act deleted the statutory requirement that clinicians consider the need for a father of any potential (...) child before offering a woman treatment, substituting for it a requirement that clinicians must henceforth consider the child’s need for “supportive parenting”. In this paper, we first briefly recall the history of the introduction of s 13(5) in the 1990 Act, before going on to track discussion of its amendment through the lengthy reform process that preceded the introduction of the 2008 Act. We then discuss the meaning of the phrase “supportive parenting” with reference to guidance regarding its interpretation offered by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. While the changes to s 13(5) have been represented as suggesting a major change in the law, we suggest that the reworded section does not represent a significant break from the previous law as it had been interpreted in practice. This raises the question of why it was that an amendment that is likely to make very little difference to clinical practice tended to excite such attention (and with such polarising force). To this end, we locate debates regarding s 13(5) within a broader context of popular anxieties regarding the use of reproductive technologies and, specifically, what they mean for the position of men within the family. (shrink)
Following a Consultation exercise conducted by the Lord Chancellor's Department, the U.K. Government has announced its intention to amend the Children Act 1989 so that the unmarried father who jointly registers the birth with the mother will acquire parental responsibility automatically. In this paper, I draw on the responses made to the L.C.D. Consultation, in order critically to evaluate the arguments for and against reform. A poverty of relevant empirical research makes it impossible to reach a properly informed view on (...) the positive or negative impacts of implementing the proposal. However, the principled arguments: that unmarried fathers and their children are subject to discrimination, or that it is unfair for men to pay child support, yet have no automatic rights with regard to their children, are ultimately unconvincing. I also attempt a more explicitly sociological exploration of the Consultation and reform process, focusing on what it can tell us about evolving social attitudes towards the statuses of `father' and `family' and how they should be valued and protected. (shrink)
Frente a un proceso histórico de larga data inscrito en las transformaciones de la familia, el final del siglo pasado ha visto declinar la autoridad paterna propia de la matriz familiar patriarcal y moderno-industrial, abriendo un nuevo lugar al padre. Sobre la base de treinta entrevistas, este artículo analiza los cambios en las representaciones de la paternidad en distintos grupos sociales chilenos, las rupturas intergeneracionales y los modelos de paternidad contemporáneos, poniendo en evidencia los límites del cambio del orden de (...) género tradicional aunque los padres actuales se muestren más involucrados y cercanos a sus hijos en un contexto en que convive el padre moderno con el “amo” que gobierna la familia restaurando la tradición. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine how Scotus and Ockham try to solve the following problem. If different kinds of constituents contribute some difference in kind to the things they constitute, then the divine Father and Son should be different in kind because they are constituted by at least some constituents that are different in kind (namely, fatherhood and sonship). However, if the Father and Son are different in kind, the Son's production will be equivocal, and equivocal products are typically (...) less perfect than their producers. Therefore, the Son must be subordinate to the Father. In response, Scotus argues that different kinds of constituents do not necessarily result in different kinds of things, but Ockham rejects this, arguing instead that although the Father and Son are different in kind, they are still equal in perfection because of their identity with the divine essence. (shrink)
Next SectionClaims for reimbursement of child support, the reversal of property settlements and compensation can arise when misattributed paternity is discovered. The ethical justifications for such claims seem to be related to the financial cost of bringing up children, the absence of choice about taking on these expenses, the hard work involved in child rearing, the emotional attachments that are formed with children, the obligation of women to make truthful claims about paternity, and the deception involved in infidelity. In this (...) paper it is argued that there should not be compensation for infidelity and that reimbursement is appropriate where the claimant has made child support payments but has not taken on the social role of father. Where the claimant’s behaviour suggests a social view of fatherhood, on the other hand, claims for compensation are less coherent. Where the genetic model of fatherhood dominates, the “other” man (the woman’s lover and progenitor of the children) might also have a claim for the loss of the benefits of fatherhood. It is concluded that claims for reimbursement and compensation in cases of misattributed paternity produce the same distorted and thin view of what it means to be a father that paternity testing assumes, and underscores a trend that is not in the interests of children. (shrink)
This article takes an intergenerational lens to the study of fathers. It draws on evidence from two economic and social research council-funded intergenerational studies of fathers, one of which focused on four-generation British families and the other which included new migrant (Polish) fathers. The article suggests both patterns of change and continuity in fatherhood across the generations. It demonstrates how cultural forces and material conditions need to combine to facilitate change in fathers? exercise of agency and how social class (...) and the conditions of being a migrant shape fathers? practices. It argues that in seeking to recast the public debate about parenting, it is necessary to penetrate below the discursive level of talk about parenting to examine the habitual nature of many family practices, an endeavour to which an intergenerational approach is well suited. This approach enabled us to tease out the horizontal pull of within-generation influences on fathers, the vertical pull of inheritance from older to younger generations and the material and cultural conditions of fathers? current locations, all of which shape their practices. This analysis also alerted us to changes in conceptual language ? not only from fatherhood to fathering ? but also to the historical resilience of the concept of childcare as reserved largely for the role and practices of mothers. (shrink)
Jacques Arènes | : Marie de la Trinité est une mystique contemporaine dont Jacques Lacan fut l’analyste. Cette trajectoire est paradigmatique de la manière dont une mystique rencontre la souffrance psychique dans le paysage culturel du milieu du xxe siècle. La pensée de Jacques Lacan concernant la mystique, ainsi que des considérations psychanalytiques plus générales à propos de la paternité, sont mises en relation avec la logique apophatique de cette spirituelle. Cette mystique « antinaturelle » se déploie en une sécheresse (...) vertigineuse, à la lisière du Symbolique, et dans une fascination vis-à-vis de l’attraction du Père, impérieuse et contrariée. L’article analyse en particulier, à travers la figure de Marie de la Trinité, la manière dont la mystique contemporaine se confronte, dans le champ chrétien, à la question de la mort de Dieu, et du déclin du Père. | : Marie de la Trinité was a contemporary mystic who was analyzed by Jacques Lacan. The trajectory of her life is a paradigmatic example of the way in which a mystic encountered psychic suffering in the cultural landscape of the mid-20th century. Jacques Lacan’s thinking about mysticism, as well as broader psychoanalytical considerations about fatherhood, are associated here with the apophatic path of Marie. As her counter-natural mysticism unfolds she draws ever closer to the symbolic, fascinated by the dual nature of the attraction, at once imperious and impeded, exerted by the Father. This article uses the figure of Marie de la Trinité as the specific vantage point to examine how contemporary Christian mysticism is faced with the question of the death of God and the decline of the Father. (shrink)
I interpret Dostoevskij’s religious concepts in terms of mythogenesis and mythopoesis. Dostoevskij’s religious concepts arose on the basis both of his personal emotional experience and of the discourse of popular Orthodoxy. They demonstrate the antinomial nature of Russian spirituality, and are typified by his conception of the family, which illustrates the communal basis of the individual personality. The antimomial idea of the family is most fully developed in Dostoevskij’s novel The Brothers Karamazov, in which the four models of fatherhood (...) correspond to Isaac the Syrian’s concepts of physical, spiritual, mental and divine fatherhood. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophy offers two main accounts of how parental obligations are acquired: the causal and the voluntarist account. Elizabeth Brake's provocative paper "Fatherhood and Child Support: Do Men Have a Right to Choose?" seeks to clear the way for the voluntarist account by focusing on the relevance of abortion rights to parental obligations. The present paper is concerned with rebutting Brake's argument that, if a woman does not acquire parental obligations to an unborn child just by having voluntarily acted (...) in such a way that had the reasonably foreseeable consequence of bringing him or her into being, neither does a man acquire parental obligations to a child once he or she is born just by having voluntarily acted in the same way. (shrink)
Telling the truth is one of the most respected virtues in medical history and one of the most emphasized in the code of medical ethics. Health care providers are frequently confronted with the dilemma as to whether or not to tell the truth. This dilemma deepens when both choices are critically vicious: The choice is no longer between “right and right” or “right and wrong,” it is between “wrong and wrong.” In the case presented and discussed in this paper, a (...) research team in Saudi Arabia unintentionally uncovered information regarding misattributed paternity. In such a situation and in the context of a tribal cultural system, what should the team do with this information? This case analysis demonstrates the joint application of ethical resources originating from within and outside the Saudi Arabian context. The article analyses the case based on the moral problems involved, relevant medical application, and the impact of such information in the Saudi tribal and Islamic domains. The most pertinent relevant values and secular debates on similar matters are discussed. Finally, the article aims to provide an Islamic dimension of family, fatherhood, and adultery. (shrink)
The examination of cultural productions with nuclear themes reveals the regular recurrence of the theme of incestuous fatherhood. Connections include a nuclear-father figure, one who threatens dependents while purportedly protecting them; the desecration of the future; the betrayal of trust; insidious long-term effects after initial harm; the shattering of safety; the cult of secrecy, aided by psychological defenses of denial, numbing, and splitting (in both survivor and perpetrator); the violation of life-preservative taboos; and survival.
How would you feel if you thought God wrote a personal note to you...on His website...and it was about some of the stuff that makes you wonder if He really exists at all? This book does make you feel...while it makes you think. Maybe God isn't who we thought He was. Maybe His thoughts aren't what we have been taught. God's Blogs contains some insightful, fresh thoughts that help us see more of God's character, His love, and His grace as (...) He reflects on marriage, death, laughter, dads, and questions like "Why are we here?" and, "What about tsunamis and poverty?" A fascinating read that will make you laugh and cry and search your own thoughts about who He is. What Might God Say on His Blogsite? Basically I'm entering into your blogdom because somehow the rumor got started that I was kind of boring. For those of you who bought into that craziness, you should know that I'm the one who created all the stuff you love...all the stuff that makes life exciting. I invented funny and laughter. I created adventure and romance... I laugh a lot. "Divinely inspired. This is an awesome book!" Jeff Foxworthy Very funny, smart man who loves God "Fresh thoughts on life with God from one of the most creative--and quirky--communicators I know." Louie Giglio Founder of Passion Conferences and author of I Am Not But I Know I AM "This book went through me like liquid fire. It is so inspiring, uplifting, and refreshing." Dolly Parton (everybody knows Dolly) "Wonderfully fresh and imaginative." John C. Maxwell Founder of INJOY Stewardship Services & EQUIP "I found myself reading it out loud to anybody who would listen. You are going to love this book." Andy Stanley Pastor, North Point Community Church Story Behind the Book "Blogging is a huge thing on the Web all over the world. Millions of people are logging on to millions of other people's journals just to see what they have to say. Some blogs have a larger audience than the New York Times. With blogging being so trendy right now, it occurred to me, What might people do if they thought God was blogging online about what He was seeing or what He thought was important? That being the hook, I wanted to take biblical principles written in a form similar to Eugene Peterson's The Message and attempt to use what is cultural to say what is timeless. God's truths about His love and grace and fatherhood, written in a contemporary fashion, might just penetrate the hearts of those who need Him during times of trial, or of those who aren't even sure He exists." -- Lanny Donoho. (shrink)