Etyka 36:193-208 (2003)

Abstract
The article concentrates on attempts of treating the maternal perspective as valuable in moral philosophy. The author traces the evolution of maternal behaviours in history and reconstructs the development of ethical theories determining women’s proper role in society. She raises the question why none of the philosophers gave any consideration to the maternal experience. Her conclusion is that traditional philosophical discourse assumes motherhood as just part of a wide group of issues determined as,,family”. Classical philosophers claim that maternal love is natural and innate so it cannot be valuable. Their analyses fail to take account of maternal experience as a source of moral virtues like self-sacrifice, patience, responsibility, care or devalues this terms as not so important as male virtues like impartiality, non-interference, justice or individual’s autonomy. The author presents an alternative, new, female approach to morality. Simone de Beauvoir, Lucy Irigaray and Adrienne Rich criticize classical vision of motherhood in Western culture. They challenge traditional conviction of producing children as a natural destiny of all women determined by inborn maternal instinct. They treat maternal function in category of independent and deliberate choice. This new perspective replace traditional approach describing motherhood in terms of reproduction and,,natural obligation”. Motherhood in modern thinking is something more than biological production of children. The figure of mother could become an important symbol in ethics and various aspects of our culture. Acceptance of women’s culture would show that women have the same moral and social authority as man. In conclusion the author emphasize the need to present motherhood as a remarkable philosophical and moral value in modern ethics.
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DOI 10.14394/etyka.409
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