The Philosophical Parent: Asking the Hard Questions About Having and Raising Children

ISBN : 9780190914189

Jean Kazez
336 Pages
140 x 210 mm
Pub date
Sep 2018
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Becoming parents draws us into philosophical quandaries before our children have even been born. Why do most of us want to have children? Should we make new people, despite life's travails and our crowded world? Is adoptive parenthood just the same as biological parenthood? Once children arrive, the questions start to be a mix of the profound and the practical. Should we share our lifestyle with our children, no matter how unusual? Should we vaccinate and may we circumcise? Should we encourage gender differences?

Tracing the arc of parenthood from the earliest days to the college years and beyond, Jean Kazez explores 18 questions for philosophical parents, applying the tools of philosophy and drawing on personal experience. The Philosophical Parent offers a novel account of the parent-child relationship and uses it to tackle a variety of parenting puzzles, but more than that, Kazez celebrates both having children and philosophical reflection. Her book provides a challenging but cheerful companion for thoughtful parents and parents-to-be.


1. Children Come from Us What's so special about having kids?
2. Life is Good Are babies lucky to be born or just the opposite?
3. Quantity Control Must we care about population statistics?
4. Quality Control Should we mess with nature?
5. In the Beginning What's going on in there?
6. A Child is Born Is labor pain simply awful?
7. Whose Child is This? Why do biological parents have prerogatives?
8. Nobody's Child Does biology really matter?
9. Parenthood's End What's a parent for?
10. First Decisions To cut or not to cut?
11. Still Life with Child Who's going to care for the baby?
12. Boys and Girls Is it OK to prefer a girl/boy? Should parents reinforce gender?
13. The One and the Many When must I contribute to group efforts?
14. Lies, Lies, Lies Should we ever lie to childrenELor for them?
15. Passing on Religion Should we raise children in our own image?
16. Letting Go What should we do for our grown children?
17. Going Home What should our grown children do for us?
18. Parenthood and Meaning Does parenthood make us better off?
Annotated Bibliography

About the author: 

Jean Kazez teaches philosophy at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She is the author of The Weight of Things: Philosophy and the Good Life and Animalkind: What We Owe to Animals (both Wiley-Blackwell). A columnist, editor, and writer for The Philosophers' Magazine, she has also written articles and reviews for Philosophy Now and Free Inquiry.

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