Begetting : what does it mean to create a child? / Mara van der Lugt.

Lugt, Mara van der, 1986- [Browse]
Princeton : Princeton University Press, [2024]
vii, 263 pages ; 25 cm


Summary note
  • "Few assumptions, argues Mara van der Lugt, are so stagnant, so rigid, so deeply walled in as the assumption that the decision to have children is by default a good thing; that having children is one of the most elevated aspects of human activity, and, indeed, of the human condition. This book is conceived as an open and reflective challenge to that assumption. The author argues that there are two questions in life that every person needs to answer for themselves: one is the question of religion; the other is the question of begetting, a term which she chooses deliberately to restore a sense of 'strangeness and magnitude' to the idea. What does it mean to bring a new creature into the world? Or rather what does it mean to decide to perform an act of creation? What does it mean to make the decision that life is worth living on behalf of a person who cannot be consulted? To ask this question is to interrogate one's own responsibility and commitments, morally, philosophically, and personally. The question of begetting can never be purely one of preference or inclination, however we might wish it to be. This book is the author's attempt to raise some of these questions, if not fully to answer them. It is both a personal and philosophical exercise of filling out that moral background, in full awareness of the things that are at stake, and not in judgment but out of concern and compassion both for creators and created, and for those who are not yet created and those who are not (or not yet) creators"-- Provided by publisher.
  • "An investigation of what it means to have children-morally, philosophically and emotionally "Do you want to have children?" is a question we routinely ask each other. But what does it mean to create a child? Is this decision always justified? Does anyone really have the moral right to create another person? In Begetting, Mara van der Lugt attempts to fill in the moral background of procreation. Drawing on both philosophy and popular culture, van der Lugt does not provide a definitive answer on the morality of having a child; instead, she helps us find the right questions to ask.Most of the time, when we talk about whether to have children, what we are really talking about is whether we want to have children. Van der Lugt shows why this is not enough. To consider having children, she argues, is to interrogate our own responsibility and commitments, morally and philosophically and also personally. What does it mean to bring a new creature into the world, to decide to perform an act of creation? What does it mean to make the decision that life is worth living on behalf of a person who cannot be consulted? These questions are part of a conversation we should have started long ago. Van der Lugt does not ignore the problematic aspects of procreation-ethical, environmental and otherwise. But she also acknowledges the depth and complexity of the intensely human desire to have a child of our own blood and our own making"-- Provided by publisher.
Bibliographic references
Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • Begetting
  • Paradigms
  • Cain
  • Anti-natalism
  • Harm
  • The world is bad
  • Uncertainty
  • Consent
  • The ethics of creation
  • For the good of the planet
  • For the good of the child
  • Begetting in the age of climate change
  • The personal desire narrative
  • The biological narrative
  • The parental maturity narrative
  • The romantic narrative
  • The virtue narrative
  • The entitlement narrative
  • Reasons
  • Genes
  • Better reasons
  • Love (for one's partner)
  • Love (for the child)
  • Wanting, having, hoping
  • Urges
  • or agency?
  • Courage and virtue
  • Meaning and regret
  • Givenness
  • Gratitude.
  • 9780691240503 ((hardback))
  • 0691240507
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