Suki Finn, Jill Marshall, Anna Pathe-Smith, Victoria Adkins

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter provides a historical account of the transformation of pregnancy through philosophical theory and legal practice. What has remained seemingly consistent across history, though, is the lack of rights a pregnant woman can enjoy. Whilst it may manifest differently across time and place, unfortunately misogynistic attitudes persist, and this is reflected in the continual degrading of the gestator (and gestation), which is reinforced by certain philosophical theorising and technological advancement. We thus urge caution in making philosophical claims about the epistemic transformation in pregnancy, given the epistemic (and other) injustices already faced by pregnant people. We recognise that there are transformations that occur because of pregnancy, but we argue that there ought not be with respect to the pregnant person's autonomy, agency, and control over their bodies. Through an analysis of legal cases, we can see that the practice falls out of line with the theory regarding how pregnant people are treated. But perhaps it is both the theory and the practice that need to change so as to bring them in line. How we theorise about pregnancy is intertwined with our cultural views, our technological advancements, and our medical and legal practices, requiring multi-disciplinary study for a more holistic overview. In this chapter, we contribute to this endeavour by bringing some such strands together, regarding the transformation that pregnancy is, that pregnancy makes, and that pregnancy has had historically, in philosophy, and in legal practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransformations and the History of Philosophy
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781003056409
ISBN (Print)9780367520885
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 selection and editorial matter G. Anthony Bruno and Justin Vlasits; individual chapters, the contributors.


Dive into the research topics of 'TRANSFORMATION AND THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this