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Philosophy of Birth (PhilBirth)

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Scientic Supervisor / Contact Person

Name and Surname
Stella Villarmea
ORCID (link)

Localization & Research Area

Faculty / Institute
Faculty of Philosophy
Logic and Theoretical Philosophy
Research Area
Social Sciences and Humanities (SOC)

MSCA & ERC experience

Research group / research team hosted any MSCA fellow?
Research group / research team have any ERC beneficiaries?

Research Team & Research Topic

Research Team / Research Group Name (if any)
Philosophy of Birth (PhilBirth)
Website of the Research team / Research Group / Department
Brief description of the Research Team / Research Group / Department
Philosophy of Birth
A New Logos for Genos

A Vibrant and Growing Field of Contemporary Critical Thought
Every human life begins with gestation and birth. However, giving birth continues to be a blind spot in contemporary prevailing philosophy. Women philosophers and feminists have criticised this imbalance, rescuing delivery and birth from a state of omission or abandonment. This Research Project is about why and how we should introduce birth into the canon of subjects explored by philosophy.

Women frequently have their rights breached during childbirth, and we need to know why this happens before we can fix it effectively. What we propose to achieve through a philosophy of birth is a new ‘logos’ for ‘genos’ —a radically new meditation on origin and birth.

The research project "Philosophy of Birth: A New Logos for Genos (PhilBirth)" engages with one of the aims of contemporary philosophy; we explore the relationship between knowledge and emancipatory to create an epistemology that is sensitive to feminism and embodiment in the relatively unchartered waters of birth and delivery.

Keywords: Epistemology, Feminism, Epistemic Injustice, Labour, Obstetric Violence, Capacity, Agency, Rationality, Birth Rights, Genealogy, and Conceptual Innovation
Research lines / projects proposed
"The Philosophy of Birth Network" --a collaboration between the University Complutense of Madrid and the Collaborating Centre for Values-based Practice at St Catherine's College, University of Oxford-- engages in translational philosophy, of relevance for both philosophers and birth practitioners. Through "Live & Unplugged Conversations on Birth Care", we seek to bridge the silos that have existed historically between women’s health and philosophical thinking. We hope the Philosophy of Birth Network contributes to develop insights on how to make our birth practices more values-based and person-centered.

Birth care brings to the fore fascinating philosophical questions: is a person in labour a subject with full rights in practice as well as in theory? Can they exercise their autonomy in a situation of maximum vulnerability? How do we understand the incredible lucidity and awareness that characterises the work of giving birth? What is the relationship between fertility, pregnancy, birth, and the child´s natality? How do agency, capacity, and pain intertwine during and between contractions? Birth poses key questions relating to knowledge, freedom, gender, and what it means to be a human being. Our research project on the philosophy of birth welcomes research lines along those questions.

Application requirements

Professional Experience & Documents
Letter of motivation
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