Society for Women in Philosophy Switzerland

Evening Lecture

Public Evening Lecture "What a Mother's Got to Do: A Moderate Account of Maternal Duties"

Thursday, 2018/09/13, 18:00

Veranstaltungsplakat "What a Mother's Got to Do"

In this public evening lecture, Prof. Dr. Fiona Woollard (University of Southampton) will present her moderate account of maternal duties. The lecture is in English. Afterwards, everyone is welcome to join us for dinner with Prof. Woollard. Please register via email at

Abstract: "Popular discussion of maternal behaviour often treats mothers and pregnant women as if they have a defeasible duty to perform any action that might benefit their child. I have argued elsewhere that this understanding of maternal duty is mistaken and has bad effects on women’s wellbeing. Nonetheless, I do not want to suggest that mothers have no maternal duties. This paper is part of a project to develop an alternative moderate account of the duties of pregnant women and mothers to their offspring. I explore two questions: (1) Should we adopt a sufficiency model of maternal duties, according to which mothers have a defeasible duty to do enough to benefit their child? (2) When, if ever, does a mother or pregnant woman have a defeasible duty to perform a specific action for the sake of the child? The two questions are connected because, as I will argue, there are some cases where intuitively mothers have defeasible duties to perform specific actions and sufficiency models are not able to recognise these duties. That leaves us with a choice: to further reform our understanding of maternal duties or to reject sufficiency models. I argue that we should reject Sufficiency models and adopt what I call the Sufficiency-Plus Account of maternal duties."

Event organizer: SWIP CH
Speaker: Prof. Dr. Fiona Woollard
Date: 2018/09/13
Time: 18:00 - 20:00
Locality: F-105
Lerchenweg 36
3012 Bern
Characteristics: open to the public
free of charge

Poster Event Prof. Woollard