About this topic
Summary

Work in this area  explores the philosophical dimensions of mothering, including (at least) considerations of pregnancy, adoption, childbirth, and mothering, and draws from a well of interdisciplinary work and first-hand experiences.  This topic area includes issues related to pregnancy, adoption, childbirth, and mothering and intersects with virtually every field of philosophy, including metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, social and political philosophy, aesthetics, and critical race and disability theory.  There are urgent ethical matters regarding the value of motherhood in general and to potential mothers in particular; some, but not all of which, are related to care ethics.  Motherhood provides a perfect opportunity to raises aesthetic issues of beauty and disgust and questions about how aesthetic taste and judgment might interact with parental feelings of moral obligation. There are also social and political issues, such as the long-standing feminist debate over whether pregnancy and/or motherhood is liberating or enslaving, in women’s interest or against it, the challenges of anti-racist mothering in a white supremacist culture, and the responsibilities of a community to families.  Metaphysical, phenomenological, and epistemological questions also arise when we reflect on the physical experience of being pregnant: for example, questions about the oneness and duplication of souls and bodies, the extension of bodies, the existence of non-material beings, and the relationship between the identity of mothers and their children, as well as questions about knowledge and the value of truth and truth-telling.   

Key works One of the earliest works on feminism and mothering is "Of Women Born" by Adrienne Rich (1974). Later feminist philosophy of mothering should not be viewed as synonymous with care ethics, but two of the foundational works in the field of feminist mothering is Ruddick 1989 and Held 1993. For an influential argument for why feminists ought be wary of marriage and motherhood there is Card 1996.
Introductions Ferguson 1986; DiQuinzio 1993.
Related categories

520 found
Order:
1 — 50 / 520
  1. added 2020-02-12
    Mass Hysteria: Medicine, Culture, and Mothers’ Bodies. Rebecca Kukla. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005.Mary Briody Mahowald - 2007 - Hypatia 22 (3):216-218.
  2. added 2020-02-12
    The Dream of the Perfect Child. Joan Rothschild Bloomington. Indiana University Press: 2005.Rebecca Kukla - 2007 - Hypatia 22 (4):199-203.
  3. added 2019-06-07
    No More Mothers?: How Attenuating Factors Are Changing the Identity.Naomi Zack - 2009 - Social Philosophy Today 25:17-30.
    The role of motherhood was attenuated over the second half of the twentieth century, by literal and metaphorical factors: Privileged women gained control over their reproduction and developed non-mothering life priorities; government and society became less nurturing in public ideals; projects of spontaneous speciation began in biology; the environment became unsustaining. In addition, feminist criticism resulted in greater individuation between the persons of mothers and their children. With these changes, the role of motherhood lacks a positive identity, culturally and psychically. (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  4. added 2019-06-06
    Beyond Mothering Earth: Ecological Citizenship and the Politics of Care. [REVIEW]Annie L. Booth - 2008 - Environmental Ethics 30 (1):109-110.
  5. added 2019-06-06
    Sacred Doorways: Tracing the Body in Plato’s Timaeus.Jena G. Jolissaint - 2007 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 11 (2):333-352.
    This paper develops a structural parallel between the maternal/feminine body in Greek mythology and the figure of the body in Plato’s Timaeus. HistoricallyPlato is often portrayed as a thinker who is concerned with the corporeal only insofar as philosophy is engaged in transcending bodily limitations. Yet the Timaeus is not engaged in producing a dualistic opposition between the intelligible and the sensible, nor is Platonic philosophy a rejection of life in favor of the perfect wisdom that comes with death. The (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  6. added 2019-06-06
    Ethical Androcentrism and Maternal Substance Addiction: Concerns of a Feminist Ethicist.Jennifer A. Parks - 1999 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 13 (2):165-175.
    In this paper, I argue that bioethics suffers from a masculinist approach-what I call “ethical androcentrism.” Despite the genesis of other legitimate approaches to ethics, this masculinist tradition persists. The first part of my paper concerns the problem of ethical androcentrism, and how it is manifest in our typical ways of “doing” bioethics. After arguing that bioethics suffers from a masculinist ethic, I consider the case of maternal substance addiction to show how this ethic negatively affects the treatment of pregnant (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  7. added 2019-06-06
    The King's Mother: Lady Margaret Beufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby.Michael K. Jones, Malcolm G. Underwood.Lorraine Attreed - 1994 - Speculum 69 (1):184-186.
  8. added 2019-06-06
    Nature’s God and the Return of the Material Maternal.Robert Corrington - 1993 - American Journal of Semiotics 10 (1/2):115-132.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (5 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  9. added 2019-06-06
    The Radical Feminist View of Motherhood: Epistemological Issues and Political Implications.George Schedler - 1989 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 4 (4):25-34.
  10. added 2019-06-05
    Philosophical Inquiries Into Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Mothering: Maternal Subjects.Sheila Lintott & Maureen Sander-Staudt (eds.) - 2011 - Routledge.
    Philosophical inquiry into pregnancy, childbirth, and mothering is a growing area of interest to academic philosophers. This volume brings together a diverse group of philosophers to speak about topics in this reemerging area of philosophical inquiry, taking up new themes, such as maternal aesthetics, and pursuing old ones in new ways, such as investigating stepmothering as it might inform and ground an ethics of care. The theoretical foci of the book include feminist, existential, ethical, aesthetic, phenomenological, social and political theories. (...)
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  11. added 2019-06-05
    Nothing Beyond the Able Mother? A Queer-Crip Perspective on Notions of the Reproductive Subject in German Feminist Bioethics.Ute Kalender - 2010 - International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 3 (2):150-169.
    Since the 1990s in Germany, bioethics has established itself as the primary location for the discussion and debate of social and political questions concerning new reproductive technologies (NRTs), and has become the site for decisions about their juridical regulation. As a component of academic bioethical discourses, governmental commissions, and bioethics centers, all of which produce discourses about NRTs, feminist bioethics in Germany contributes to this political knowledge about NRTs (Kalender 2008, 56; Herrmann 2009, 173–88; Krones 2005, 28).1 In what follows, (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (6 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  12. added 2019-06-05
    Book Review: Daughter Zion, Mother Zion: Gender, Space, and the Sacred in Ancient IsraelDaughter Zion, Mother Zion: Gender, Space, and the Sacred in Ancient IsraelbyMaierChristl M.Fortress, Minneapolis, 2008. 285 Pp. $21.00. ISBN 978-0-8006-6241-7. [REVIEW]Amy C. Merrill Willis - 2010 - Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology 64 (1):98-98.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  13. added 2019-06-05
    Book Review: Sarah: Mother of NationsSarah: Mother of Nations by SchneiderTammi J.Continuum, New York, 2004. 145 Pp., $ 24.95. ISBN 0-8264-1625-X. [REVIEW]Adrien J. Bledstein - 2006 - Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology 60 (4):472-473.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  14. added 2019-05-23
    Comment: Response to Wilder's 'Mother/Nature,' and Ruddick's 'Maternal Thinking'.Marilyn Frye - 1982 - In Albert C. Cafagna, Richard T. Peterson & Craig A. Staudenbaur (eds.), Philosophy, Children and the Family. New York: Plenum Press. pp. 127-130.
    I very much welcome Professor Wilder’s debunking of Rossi’s theses and arguments and I wholeheartedly share his rejection of that sort of biological determinism and his recognition of the unnaturalness of all human behavior. That last is, I think, an essential first step toward our assuming responsibility for how things are. However, I am not as comfortable as he seems to be with the liberal anyone-can-parent line of thought. What gives me pause about that may be some of the same (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  15. added 2019-03-27
    Understanding the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative: A Multidisciplinary Analysis.Erica Preston-Roedder, Hannah Fagen, Jessica Martucci & Anne Barnhill - 2019 - International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 12 (2):117-147.
    In the United States, roughly 1 out of 4 births takes place at a hospital certified as Baby-Friendly. This paper offers a multi-disciplinary perspective on the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), including empirical, normative, and historical perspectives. Our analysis is novel in that we trace how medical practices of “quality improvement,” which initially appear to have little to do with breastfeeding, may have shaped the BFHI. Ultimately, we demonstrate that a rich understanding of the BFHI can be obtained by tracing how (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  16. added 2018-09-21
    Moral Reasons Not to Breastfeed: A Response to Woollard and Porter.Laura Frances Callahan - 2019 - Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (3):213-214.
    Woollard and Porter argue that mothers have no moral duty to breastfeed their babies. Rather, mothers simply have moral reason(s) to breastfeed, stemming from the benefits of breast feeding for babies. According to Woollard and Porter, doing what one has moral reason to do is often supererogatory, not obligatory. I agree that mothers have no moral duty to breastfeed. However, it is misleading to suggest that mothers in general have moral reason to breastfeed and to liken not breastfeeding to not (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  17. added 2018-05-20
    Confucian Mothering: The Origin of Tiger Mothering?Ranjoo Seodu Herr - 2016 - In Mathew Foust & Sor-Hoon Tan (eds.), Feminist Encounters with Confucius. Boston, USA: Brill. pp. 40-68.
    In recent years, the notion of “tiger mother” has been popularized since Amy Chua’s publication of her memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011). This notion is allegedly representative of “Chinese” mothering that produces “stereotypically successful kids” (ibid., p.3). No wonder, the characteristics of the tiger mother revolve around strict disciplining and pressuring of children to excel academically based on her assumption that children “owe everything” to her and that she knows “what is best for [the] children” (ibid., p.53). (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  18. added 2018-03-20
    Creating Life, Giving Birth, and Learning to Die.Brooke Schueneman - 2012 - In Sheila Lintott & Maureen Sander-Staudt (eds.), Philosophical Inquiries into Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Mothering: Maternal Subjects. New York: Routledge. pp. 165-177.
  19. added 2017-07-14
    Review of Blended: Writers on the Stepfamily Experience. [REVIEW]Shelley M. Park - 2016 - Journal of the Motherhood Initiative 7 (1):211-12.
  20. added 2017-07-14
    Review of Philosophical Inquiries Into Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Mothering: Maternal Subjects. [REVIEW]Shelley M. Park - 2012 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2012:n.p..
  21. added 2017-07-14
    Parents and Children: An Alternative to Selfless and Unconditional Love.Amy Mullin - 2006 - Hypatia 21 (1):181-200.
    I develop a model of love or care between children and their parents guided by experiences of parents, especially mothers, with disabilities. On this model, a caring relationship requires both parties to be aware of each other as a particular person and it requires reciprocity. This does not mean that children need to be able to articulate their interests, or that they need to be self-reflectively aware of their parents’ interests or personhood. Instead, parents and children manifest their understanding of (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (11 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   2 citations  
  22. added 2017-07-14
    Review of A Question of David: A Disabled Mother's Journey Through Adoption. [REVIEW]Shelley M. Park - 2003 - Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering 5 (2):202-204.
  23. added 2017-07-14
    Review of Naked Motherhood. [REVIEW]Shelley M. Park - 2002 - Journal of the Association for Research on Motherhood 4 (2):230-32.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  24. added 2017-07-13
    When We Handed Out the Crayolas, They Just Stared at Them.Shelley M. Park - 2016 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 23 (1):71-90.
    In 2008, over 400 children living on the Yearning for Zion Ranch, a rural Texas polygamist community of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, were forcibly removed from their mothers’ care by State troopers responding to allegations of child abuse. This essay examines the role of neoliberal ideologies and, more specifically, what some queer theorists have identified as ‘metronormativity’ in solidifying a widespread caricature of FLDS mothers as ‘bad’ mothers. The intersections of these ideologies with (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  25. added 2017-02-15
    Reading with Love: Reading of Life Narrative of a Mother of a Child with Cerebral Palsy.Daniela Mercieca & Duncan P. Mercieca - 2014 - Ethics and Education 9 (3):264-275.
    This paper draws upon Deleuze and Guattari's ideas to suggest a different kind of reading of a narrative of a mother of a child with severe disability, and thus a different kind of ethical response to them. This reading gives readers the possibility of opening up experiences of parents and children with disability, rather than compartmentalising such stories. The reader becomes, is transformed, through reading these narratives and through engaging with the intensities which are recognised in the text, asking the (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  26. added 2017-02-15
    Encyclopedia of Motherhood Sage Publications, Inc., First Edition, April 6 2010.Andrea O'Reilly (ed.) - 2010 - Sage Publications.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  27. added 2017-02-15
    Measurement of Maternal and Child Mortality Morbidity and Health Care: Interdisciplinary Approaches.J. Ties Boerma, S. Meyer, E. Schulze, K. M. Cleaver, G. A. Schreiber, J. A. Adetunji, G. Kaufmann, J. Cleland, E. Garrett & A. Wear - 1994 - Journal of Biosocial Science 26 (4):469-77.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  28. added 2017-02-15
    The Breastfeeding Programme in Brazil.P. Marin, Y. P. de Oliveira, M. T. Asquith, M. M. Wellington, I. Narayanan, M. Carballo, R. E. Jones, D. Munyakho, R. A. Bell & H. Marcovitch - 1989 - Journal of Biosocial Science 21 (1):153-60.
  29. added 2017-02-14
    The Influence of Birth Order on Birth Weight: Does Sex of the Preceding Siblings Matter?Karine Côté, Ray Blanchard & Martin L. Lalumière - 2003 - Journal of Biosocial Science 35 (3):455-462.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  30. added 2017-02-14
    Determinants of Use of Maternal–Child Health Services in Rural Ghana.Isaac Addai - 2000 - Journal of Biosocial Science 32 (1):1-15.
    This study uses data from the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey of 1993 to examine factors determining the use of maternal–child health services in rural Ghana. The MCH services under study are: use of a doctor for prenatal care; soliciting four or more antenatal check-ups; place of delivery; participation in family planning. Bivariate and multivariate techniques are employed in the analyses. The analyses reveal that the use of MCH services tends to be shaped mostly by level of education, religious background (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   6 citations  
  31. added 2017-02-14
    How Infants Grow Mothers in North London.Daniel Miller - 1997 - Theory, Culture and Society 14 (4):67-88.
  32. added 2017-02-14
    Mothers' Speech Research: From Input to Interaction.Catherine E. Snow - 1977 - In Catherine E. Snow & Charles A. Ferguson (eds.), Talking to Children. Cambridge University Press. pp. 31--49.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   7 citations  
  33. added 2017-02-14
    War and the Birth-Rate.L. J. Cadbury - 1945 - The Eugenics Review 37 (2):83.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  34. added 2017-02-14
    The Birth-Rate.O. M. Johnson - 1944 - The Eugenics Review 36 (1):43.
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  35. added 2017-02-14
    The Birth Rate.B. Dunlop - 1942 - The Eugenics Review 34 (2):77.
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  36. added 2017-02-14
    Some Birth-Rate Problems.Leonard Darwin - 1921 - The Eugenics Review 12 (4):279.
  37. added 2017-02-13
    Complicated Choledochal Cysts in Pregnancy.Dragojlo Gmijović, Miroslav Stojanović, Milan Radojković, Ljiljana Jeremić & Zlatko Širić - 2006 - Facta Universitatis 13 (2):90-93.
  38. added 2017-02-13
    The Influence of Birth Order on Birth Weight: Does the Sex of Preceding Siblings Matter?Karine Ct, Ray Blanchard & Martin L. Lalumire - 2003 - Journal of Biosocial Science 35 (3):455-462.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  39. added 2017-02-13
    A Biocultural Investigation of the Weanling’s Dilemma in Kathmandu, Nepal: Do Universal Recommendations for Weaning Practices Make Sense?Tina Moffat - 2001 - Journal of Biosocial Science 33 (3):321-338.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  40. added 2017-02-13
    The Hungriest Narrative: Devouring Mother Ireland.Kathy Cremin - 1998 - In John Arnold, Kate Davies & Simon Ditchfield (eds.), History and Heritage: Consuming the Past in Contemporary Culture. Donhead. pp. 141--153.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  41. added 2017-02-13
    Infant and Young Child Feeding Practices Among African Pastoralists: The Datoga of Tanzania.Daniel W. Sellen - 1998 - Journal of Biosocial Science 30 (4):481-499.
  42. added 2017-02-13
    Maternal Education and Family Income as Determinants of Severe Disease Following Acute Diarrhoea in Children: A Case Control Study.Dilip Mahalanabis, Abu S. G. Faruque, Asma Islam & Syed S. Hoque - 1996 - Journal of Biosocial Science 28 (2):129-139.
  43. added 2017-02-13
    Influence of Birth Interval and Child Labour on Family Energy Requirements and Dependency Ratios in Two Traditional Subsistence Economics in Africa.Stanley J. Ulijaszek - 1993 - Journal of Biosocial Science 25 (1):79-86.
  44. added 2017-02-13
    Season of Birth and Recalled Age at Menarche.Jesper L. Boldsen - 1992 - Journal of Biosocial Science 24 (2):167-174.
    All 8th-form schoolgirls from the municipality of Odense in Denmark were asked at what age they reached menarche, and 886 girls gave this information. There is no evidence for seasonality in the time of birth but for far more girls than expected menarche occurred during winter or summer and fewer than expected during spring and autumn. This pattern appears primarily in girls living in the suburbs and was not seen in those living in central Odense. The seasonality appears to be (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  45. added 2017-02-13
    Demographic Components of Seasonality of Pregnancy.Jeffrey E. Kallan & J. Richard Udry - 1989 - Journal of Biosocial Science 21 (1):101-108.
  46. added 2017-02-13
    Oral Rehydration Therapy and its Effect on Child Mortality in Egypt.Hoda Rashad - 1989 - Journal of Biosocial Science 21 (S10):105-113.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  47. added 2017-02-13
    Ethnic Differentials in Early Childhood Mortality in Nepal.Minja Kim Choe, Robert D. Retherford, Bhakta B. Gubhaju & Shyam Thapa - 1989 - Journal of Biosocial Science 21 (2):223-233.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  48. added 2017-02-13
    Impact of Child Mortality and Sociodemographic Attributes on Family Size Desires: Some Data From Urban India.D. N. Saksena & J. N. Srivastava - 1984 - Journal of Biosocial Science 16 (1):119-126.
    SummaryUsing follow-up data on a sample of mothers who gave birth at a Lucknow city hospital, the family size ideals of the women were examined in relation to experienced and perceived levels of child mortality and socioeconomic and demographic characteristics.The fear of child mortality and their own experience tended to increase the size of family which the mothers considered to be ideal. Lower ideal family size was found among younger women, those who married at later ages and those currently using (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  49. added 2017-02-13
    Birth Interval, Mortality and Growth of Children in a Rural Area in Kenya.J. T. Boerma & H. A. W. Van Vianen - 1984 - Journal of Biosocial Science 16 (4):475.
  50. added 2017-02-13
    Age at Menarche, at First Intercourse, and at First Pregnancy.J. Richard Udry - 1979 - Journal of Biosocial Science 11 (4):433-441.
1 — 50 / 520