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Original scientific paper

Being-from-Birth: Pregnancy and Philosophy

Suki Finn orcid id ; Royal Holloway University of London

Full text: english pdf 324 Kb

page S7-32

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Women are underrepresented in philosophy. And pregnancy is under-researched in philosophy. Can a connection be made between the two? I will argue that whilst the counterfactual of ‘had women historically been better represented in philosophy then pregnancy would have been too’ may be true, it is not necessarily the case that we can now, in the present day, expect (or desire) a correlation. In order to understand the gap between these two areas of underrepresentation, one need only adopt a non- essentialist understanding of women so as to recognise that not all women experience pregnancy or are interested in pregnancy (philosophically or otherwise). Nevertheless, given the historical silence(ing) of women in philosophy on the topic of pregnancy, it is important now to redress that imbalance by tackling both issues of underrepresentation simultaneously. To demonstrate further I refer to the difference between representational diversity and substantive diversity (which is related to the more commonly known distinction between descriptive representation and substantive representation). This will be the topic of the first section of the paper. Then, in the second and third sections of the paper I will explore the underrepresentation and misrepresentation of women in philosophy, regarding not only the lack of women numerically speaking but also how women, as a general ‘kind’, are (misogynistically) described in philosophy historically. I will then apply the same treatment to pregnancy in the fourth and fifth sections of the paper, exploring both its underrepresentation as a topic of philosophical endeavour and misrepresentation within society at large. The analysis contains a review of the literature, and cites statistical quantitative data and qualitative grounded interviews, to provide evidence for my claims. I will end by hypothesising about the relationship between these under- and mis- representations, and will provide musings on the future for women and pregnancy in philosophy.


representation; diversity; women; pregnancy; philosophy

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