Philosophy Society Lecture Series (Monday - Week 4, TT22)

week 4 oxford university philosophy scociety

Every human life begins with gestation and birth – and yet, birth remains a blind spot in prevailing contemporary philosophy. Women philosophers and feminists have criticised this imbalance, working to rescue notions of delivery and birth from a state of omission or abandonment.

Stella Villarmea, University Distinguished Professor at the Complutense University of Madrid and Associate Faculty Member at the University of Oxford, will be joining the Oxford University Philosophy Society to talk about why and how we should introduce birth into the philosophical canon. What Villarmea is proposing to achieve through a philosophy of birth is a new ‘logos’ for ‘genos’ —a radically new meditation on origin and birth.

Villarmea writes, ‘Birth care brings to the fore fascinating philosophical questions: is a woman in labour a subject with full rights in practice as well as in theory? Can a labouring woman exercise her autonomy in a situation of maximum vulnerability but also maximum lucidity and awareness, as characterises the work of giving birth? What is the relationship between agency, capacity, and pain during and between contractions? Birth care proposes key questions relating to knowledge, freedom, and what it means to be a human being.’

In ‘A New Logos for Genos’, Villarmea will explore the relationship between knowledge and emancipatory action in the relatively uncharted waters of birth and delivery, to create an epistemology that is sensitive to feminism.

The event is open to all members of Oxford University and do not require prior registration. For more information please visit our Facebook page or contact