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Conceptions of Parenthood (Ashgate Studies in Applied Ethics) New edition Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0754658382
ISBN-10: 0754658384
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Editorial Reviews


'Mike Austin's impressive and important new book, Conceptions of Parenthood, helps bring to center stage a fundamental set of concerns that contemporary moral philosophers have too often treated as merely peripheral, if they have treated them at all: those issues concerning the rights and responsibilities of parenthood. Written with a rare combination of philosophical acumen and common sense wisdom, Austin's book provides an admirably clear layout of the theoretical landscape and argues rigorously and powerfully for a variety of potentially challenging conclusions. The book immediately becomes required reading for anyone working in the area and deserves to be read by anyone who wants to see what good work in applied ethics looks like and what it can accomplish.' David Boonin, University of Colorado, USA 'Austin's thorough and lively examination of the ethical and conceptual issues surrounding parenthood starts with a refreshingly clear and unprejudiced look at the complications posed by new reproductive technologies. Austin proposes an account of parenthood that depends on moral relationships rather than biological ones, and goes on to discuss the rights and responsibilities of parents. His view is commonsensical but not conservative, and is meticulously presented and defended.' Elinor Mason, University of Edinburgh, UK 'I know of no other book that addresses the foundations of the family in such a comprehensive and engaging way. Conceptions of Parenthood is remarkable for its crystaline clarity, philosophical subtlety, and plain good sense.' Claudia Mills, University of Colorado at Boulder, USA 'While it is a work of rigorous moral philosophy, the book remains remarkably readable.' First Things

About the Author

Michael W. Austin is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY, USA.

Product Details

  • Series: Ashgate Studies in Applied Ethics
  • Hardcover: 138 pages
  • Publisher: Ashgate Publishing; New edition edition (August 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0754658384
  • ISBN-13: 978-0754658382
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,370,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am a philosopher at Eastern Kentucky University, with interests in ethics, philosophy of the family, philosophy of sport, and philosophy of religion. Most of my books are intended to make philosophy accessible to a wide audience. I think at its best philosophical thought can be applied in ways that lead to a wise, good, beautiful, and well-lived life. The result is a life with meaning and purpose that also ends up being deeply satisfying.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Omelianchuk on March 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Everyone knows what a parent is, right? Well, not exactly. For example, while many people believe biology is the determining factor in establishing parental rights and obligations, it absolutely fails-so says Austin. Why? Well when you start asking what exactly it is in biology that determines parenthood things get murky. Is it carrying a child? If so, then are surrogate mothers parents of the children they give out to adoption? What about the sources of egg and sperm? Do donors have the rights to the children they inevitably produce? Or could it be genetic make up? But then, does a father's identical twin brother get a say in how to raise the child? Some think the causal sex act ought to be binding to a parental role, yet no one would want a rapist to be a father of their children.

In the book, Austin argues for a pluralistic understanding parenthood organized around the motif of stewardship. Broadly speaking, this means parents are specially invested in the care-taking and guidance of a young person into adulthood. Imagining the child as a potential adult, a parent is to be primarily interested in the child's well-being and is obligated to nurture and raise the child into a responsible adult capable of his or her own independence. Both parental consent and causal factors play a part in determining whether one is a parent or not. If a couple consents to raise a child, they can achieve parental status by way of adoption. Biological parents who forsake their children forfeit their parental rights, though they cannot annul their obligation to see to it that their children are placed in an environment of caring parental stewardship.
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