Just Life

Bioethics and the Future of Sexual Difference

Mary C. Rawlinson

Columbia University Press

Just Life

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Pub Date: March 2016

ISBN: 9780231171755

296 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00£24.95

Pub Date: March 2016

ISBN: 9780231171748

296 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $90.00£74.95

Pub Date: March 2016

ISBN: 9780231541190

296 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $29.99£24.95

Just Life

Bioethics and the Future of Sexual Difference

Mary C. Rawlinson

Columbia University Press

Just Life reorients ethics and politics around the generativity of mothers and daughters rather than the right to property and the sexual proprieties of the oedipal drama. Invoking two concrete universals—everyone is born of a woman and everyone needs to eat—Rawlinson rethinks labor and food as relationships that make ethical claims and sustain agency. Just Life counters the capitalization of bodies under biopower with the solidarity of sovereign bodies.
Just Life expands the surprisingly narrow scope of the dominant frameworks in bioethics, and, more importantly, identifies new questions for the field. Rawlinson's insistence on seeing the commitments entailed by an ethics of life—especially attention to women, and to the earth—leads her to delve much deeper into the history of Western philosophy than most theorists in bioethics dare. Ellen K. Feder, American University
Rawlinson has made here a very significant contribution that will hopefully lead to a reappraisal of where feminist—and by derivation all—bioethics should be going. Margrit Shildrick, Linköping University and York University
This is a powerful and erudite reading of some of the key figures in the history of political thought, whose relevance and limits remain strong even today. Mary C. Rawlinson provides a feminist critique of and alternative to prevailing models of politics and ethics by insisting on the centrality and irreducibility of differences of all kinds, but most especially sexual difference in understanding life and its social and natural connections and possibilities. Elizabeth Grosz, author of Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth
In this original approach to bioethics, philosophy, and feminism, Rawlinson ranges over the history of philosophy and provides fresh interpretations of Antigone and Ismene, Demeter and Persephone. She imaginatively combines theoretical discussions with concrete phenomenological discussions of eating as an ethical issue and the working lives of women. Throughout her discussions are thought-provoking, imaginative, and illuminating. Richard J. Bernstein, New School for Social Research
This reorientation of ethics from rights to generativity provides a valuable resource in working toward eliminating those institutions, laws, and practices that threaten the generativity of women and nature. Hypatia
Preface: On the Necessity of Universals in Philosophy and Bioethics
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Our Time—Man, Money, Media
I. Critique of Rights
1. State of Nature! Property, Propriety, and the Rights of Man
2. Capitalized Bodies: Bioethics, Biopower, and the Practice of Freedom
II. Refiguring Ethics
3. Antigone and Ismene: Hard Heads, Hard Hearts, and the Claim of the Right
4. Demeter and Persephone, "Unies Sous le Même Manteau"
III. Livable Futures
5. Eating at the Heart of Ethics
6. A Working Life
IV. Sovereign Bodies: Politics of Wonder or the Right to Be Joyful
Notes
Bibliography
Index

About the Author

Mary C. Rawlinson is professor and chair of philosophy at Stony Brook University.