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summary
Coming to Life does what too few scholarly works have dared to attempt: It takes seriously the philosophical significance of women's lived experience. Every woman, regardless of her own reproductive story, is touched by the beliefs and norms governing discourses about pregnancy, childbirth, and mothering. The volume's contributors engage in sustained reflection on women's experiences and on the beliefs, customs, and political institutions by which they are informed. They think beyond the traditional pro-choice/pro-life dichotomy, speak to the manifold nature of mothering by considering the experiences of adoptive mothers and birthmothers, and upend the belief that childrearing practices must be uniform, despite psychosexual differences in children. Many chapters reveal the radical shortcomings of conventional philosophical wisdom by placing trenchant assumptions about subjectivity, gender, power and virtue in dialogue with women's experience.

Table of Contents

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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. i-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Foreword
  2. pp. xi-xiii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xv-xvi
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  1. Introduction: The Philosophical Significance of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Mothering
  2. pp. 1-28
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  1. PART I - The Philosophical Canon
  1. 1 Plato, Maternity, and Power: Can We Get a Different Midwife?
  2. pp. 31-46
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  1. 2 Of Courage Born: Reflections on Childbirth and Manly Courage
  2. pp. 47-70
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  1. 3 Original Habitation: Pregnant Flesh as Absolute Hospitality
  2. pp. 71-87
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  1. 4 The Birth of Sexual Difference: A Feminist Response to Merleau-Ponty
  2. pp. 88-105
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  1. PART II - Ethics
  1. 5 Birthing Responsibility: A Phenomenological Perspective on the Moral Significance of Birth
  2. pp. 109-119
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  1. 6 Birthmothers and Maternal Identity: The Terms of Relinquishment
  2. pp. 120-137
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  1. 7 What’s an Adoptive Mother to Do?: When Your Child’s Desires Are a Problem
  2. pp. 138-167
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  1. PART III - Politics
  1. 8 The Pro-Choice Pro-Lifer: Battling the False Dichotomy
  2. pp. 171-192
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  1. 9 The Political “Nature” of Pregnancy and Childbirth
  2. pp. 193-214
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  1. 10 Disempowered Women?: The Midwifery Model and Medical Intervention
  2. pp. 215-238
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  1. PART IV - Popular Culture
  1. 11 Knock Me Up, Knock Me Down: Images of Pregnancy in Hollywood Film and Popular Culture
  2. pp. 241-262
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  1. 12 Exposing the Breast: The Animal and the Abject in American Attitudes Toward Breastfeeding
  2. pp. 263-279
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  1. PART V - Feminist Phenomenology
  1. 13 The Order of Life: How Phenomenologies of Pregnancy Revise and Reject Theories of the Subject
  2. pp. 283-299
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  1. 14 The Vision of the Artist/Mother: The Strange Creativity of Painting and Pregnancy
  2. pp. 300-319
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 321-369
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 371-391
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  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 393-395
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 397-401
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  1. Perspectives in Continental Philosophy
  2. pp. 403-406
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