Journal of Medical Ethics 43 (8):515-518 (2017)

Authors
Fiona Woollard
University of Southampton
Lindsey Porter
University of Bristol
Abstract
For many women experiencing motherhood for the first time, the message they receive is clear: mothers who do not breastfeed ought to have good reasons not to; bottle feeding by choice is a failure of maternal duty. We argue that this pressure to breastfeed arises in part from two misconceptions about maternal duty: confusion about the scope of the duty to benefit and conflation between moral reasons and duties. While mothers have a general duty to benefit, we argue that this does not imply a duty to carry out any particular beneficent act. Therefore, the expectation that mothers should breastfeed unless they have sufficient countervailing reasons not to is morally unwarranted. Recognising the difference between reasons and duties can allow us to discuss the benefits of breastfeeding and the importance of supporting mothers who wish to breastfeed without subjecting mothers who bottle feed to guilt, blame and failure.
Keywords children  ethics  family  feminism  women  breastfeeding
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1136/medethics-2016-103833
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas M. Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.
Shaping the Normative Landscape.David Owens - 2012 - Oxford University Press.
Doing and Allowing Harm.Fiona Woollard - 2015 - Oxford University Press.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Motherhood and Mistakes About Defeasible Duties to Benefit.Fiona Woollard - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (1):126-149.
Voluntary Benefits From Wrongdoing.Avia Pasternak - 2014 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 31 (4):377-391.
Who Supports Breastfeeding Mothers?Jayme Cisco - 2017 - Human Nature 28 (2):231-253.
Self-Defeating Arguments.John L. Pollock - 1991 - Minds and Machines 1 (4):367-392.
Euthanasia and Physicians' Moral Duties.Gary Seay - 2005 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30 (5):517 – 533.
Defeasible Reasoning and Logic Programming.Timothy R. Colburn - 1991 - Minds and Machines 1 (4):417-436.
Defeasible Specification of Utilities.Ronald Loui - 1990 - In Kyburg Henry E., Loui Ronald P. & Carlson Greg N. (eds.), Knowledge Representation and Defeasible Reasoning. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 345--359.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2017-10-25

Total views
32 ( #313,667 of 2,367,997 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #261,586 of 2,367,997 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes