Do we need a normative account of the decision to parent?
University of Melbourne Author/sCANNOLD, LESLIE
AffiliationArts: Department of Philosophy
CitationsCannold, Leslie (2002) Do we need a normative account of the decision to parent?.
Access StatusOpen Access
CAPPE WP no. 2002/4
This paper provides an analysis of several philosophically interesting results of a recent study of the fertility decision-making of thirty-five childless/childfree Australian and American women. While most women endorsed and expanded on longstanding normative prescriptions for how a"good" mother ought to feel and behave, they were at a loss (at times quite literally) to explain why a woman should decide to mother in the first place. For several women, this difficulty led them to conclude that a decision to have a child was"irrational." I argue that applied philosophers bear some causal and moral responsibility for women's negative conclusions about the rationality of deciding to mother and are obligated to respond to these findings by beginning work on normative accounts of the decision to parent. Suggestions are made about what such accounts should include, and avoid, to ensure relevance to women and acceptability to both feminist and non-feminist philosophy
Keywordsfertility decision-making; childless/childfree women; motherhood; decision to parent
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