Why Have Children?: The Ethical Debate

Paperback | September 20, 2013

byChristine Overall

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In contemporary Western society, people are more often called upon to justify the choice not to have children than they are to supply reasons for having them. In this book, Christine Overall maintains that the burden of proof should be reversed: that the choice to have children calls for more careful justification and reasoning than the choice not to. Arguing that the choice to have children is not just a prudential or pragmatic decision but one with ethical repercussions, Overall offers a wide-ranging exploration of how we might think systematically and deeply about this fundamental aspect of human life. Writing from a feminist perspective, she also acknowledges the inevitably gendered nature of the decision; the choice has different meanings, implications, and risks for women than it has for men.

After considering a series of ethical approaches to procreation, and finding them inadequate or incomplete, Overall offers instead a novel argument. Exploring the nature of the biological parent-child relationship -- which is not only genetic but also psychological, physical, intellectual, and moral -- she argues that the formation of that relationship is the best possible reason for choosing to have a child.

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In contemporary Western society, people are more often called upon to justify the choice not to have children than they are to supply reasons for having them. In this book, Christine Overall maintains that the burden of proof should be reversed: that the choice to have children calls for more careful justification and reasoning than th...

Christine Overall is Professor of Philosophy and University Research Chair in the Department of Philosophy at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. She is the author of Aging, Death, and Human Longevity: A Philosophical Inquiry and other books.

other books by Christine Overall

Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.62 inPublished:September 20, 2013Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262525291

ISBN - 13:9780262525299

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.Overall is clearly invested in making her work accessible to a range of readers. Given the current national conversation about reproductive rights, I wish work like Overall's was not only accessible, but required reading.