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Motherhood: Philosophy for Everyone Paperback – 24 Sep 2010

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Product Description

About the Author

Sheila Lintott is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Bucknell University, and the mother of two children. She is co–editor (with Allen Carlson) of Nature, Aesthetics, and Environmentalism: From Beauty to Duty (2008) and was co–editor of the American Society for Aesthetics Newsletter (2005–2008).   

Series Editor
Fritz Allhoff is an Assistant Professor in the Philosophy Department at Western Michigan University, as well as a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian National University’s Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics. In addition to editing the Philosophy for Everyone series, Allhoff is the volume editor or co–editor for several titles, including Wine & Philosophy (Wiley–Blackwell, 2007), Whiskey & Philosophy (with Marcus P. Adams, Wiley, 2009), and Food & Philosophy (with Dave Monroe, Wiley–Blackwell, 2007).


"This book opens the doors about Motherhood and covers a range of issues mother′s face in a refreshing and thought provoking way." (, 22 March 2011)

"The series editors were ... smart to divide it into two volumes instead of creating a single book on parenting in general. While there are many questions that apply to the parent role in itself, half the fun is the opportunity for the authors and readers to consider what issues might be thought of as unique to one particular parental role versus another. One of the virtues of these collections is how they demonstrate the ways in which the study of philosophy can really assist us in addressing concrete dilemmas. Measuring the success of collections like these turns on what you expect from them, and I think these two pull it off. The articles are well–written, touches of humour are sprinkled throughout, and the authors can translate complex philosophical theories into a readable format. They apply their work to questions that matter, and even when you don′t agree with what they say, there′s enough substance here to create an interesting discussion." (The Philosopher′s Magazine, 23 March 2011)

"Subtitled "The Birth of Wisdom", a new book called Motherhood: Philosophy For Everyone calls for a more pragmatic approach to being a mum, in which we are not constantly comparing ourselves to others." (Family Interest, December 2010)

"An unusual look at motherhood by several philosophers, which covers ground–such as whether it is ever acceptable to lie to your children– not often explored in maternity books.  Thought provoking." (Mother and Baby, December 2010)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8e47acd8) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e0e5e1c) out of 5 stars philosophy for everyone and everyone should read this! 8 May 2011
By T. Kind - Published on
Format: Paperback
People who should read this book include: mothers, people who have mothers, people who know mothers, and yes fathers too, also pediatricians, psychologists, teachers, and philosophers or the philosophically inclined. You will likely laugh and then cry and then cringe and then laugh again, as you think about what you do, what you should do, what you have done, what your parents did, and what you would do if you could do it all over again. Enjoy, oh, and Happy Mother's Day every day!
HASH(0x8f25e2a0) out of 5 stars For the reader actively searching for directive guidance and/or practical methods for improving mothering style 4 Feb. 2012
By Anthony R. Dickinson - Published on
Format: Paperback
To the reader still believing that the raising of a child can be made quite easy by simply following directive guides and/or practical methodologies, this book will (if its contents are to be embraced), definitely change such views. Indeed, its editor (Lintott) tells us that there is no solid definition informing what makes for a "good" or a "bad" mother - but that one may be instead at best "good" if opening up the mind to see one's children differently. Possibly too abstract a claim, or even too banal a set of claims for some readers, but as a volume aimed at the general reader who would like to tax their brain in entertaining a second (if not many) view(s) of motherhood, and from a variety of experiential perspectives, this book certainly provides the reader with new spaces to think.

This book is a collection of 16 short `stories', arranged into four sections, namely Mommy Brain, Labor Pains, Mom's Morality, and Is Motherhood Everything You Thought It Would Be ? Although not fully agreeing with, and not fully understanding why some of these particular stories were arranged into their respective sections, each truly reflects some of the major events that any mother might face: including how to balance life as a both a professional working woman and a mom ?, ethical issues challenging maternal beliefs and common `myths of motherhood', and issues concerned with the differences between pre-partum fantasy and the later reality(ies) of actually being a mom. Of particular note to the current reviewers was one of the `stories' named The Off Button: Thought Experiments and Child Control by Goering, presented towards the latter half of the book. Goering offers a very provocative thought experiment in which she challenges her readers to consider critical issues for our understanding of our human maternal nature, and more specifically, of individual differences as experienced/faced by moms across different cultural backgrounds and racial ancestries. However, and independent of any given mother's perceptions and expectations, children all over the world appear to test and push their parents to their limits and boundaries quite naturally (as do so many other mammalian offspring, though this aspect of comparative developmental psychology is sadly missing from this volume).

Indeed, looking a little more critically at this volume, there is perhaps too little new "knowledge", and certainly a lack of empirical evidence presented for the many claims made throughout the 16 chapters about motherhood. Too much jargon is perhaps used for the lay reader, which presents a more difficult read than many moms might be prepared for and/or understand, and especially so if unfamiliar with the perspective of freshman psychology and philosophy. Having said that, it is also a little unclear who Lintott's target audience was. Clearer summing up the focus for individual stories (or foci for groups of stories) included in each section would be welcome, whilst also raising the reader's interest level. In so doing, the editor would instead be presenting the book's goal beyond presenting an (albeit interesting) anthology of its various authors reminiscences of their own motherhood experiences, which the current reviewers believe was the main purpose of the book's series editor in the first place !

Definitely not an academic, research-based empirically data-supported or experiment-laden book, nor one that we would recommend to readers actively searching for directive guidance and/or practical methods for improving or solving problem situations, concerned either with themselves or their children. But there again, this is a philosophical treatise, not a self-help book. However, this book may be a welcome find for those readers who remain unsatisfied by the suggestions/recommendations found from the many different (and less existentially- and philosophically-inclined) parenting books currently available, and still wishing to be provoked into thinking how to be a "good" mom, and what might be going on with their understanding of motherhood (either very personally, or in general consideration of things experientially maternal).

Julia Hui & Anthony R. Dickinson
Gluck Psychological Services / Academic Research Laboratory (HK).
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