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Ethics at the Beginning of LifeA phenomenological critique$
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James Mumford

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199673964

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673964.001.0001

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Phenomenology and Human Emergence

Phenomenology and Human Emergence

(p.3) 1 Phenomenology and Human Emergence
Ethics at the Beginning of Life

James Mumford

Oxford University Press

This chapter opens with a brief introductory sketch of the branch of twentieth- and twenty-first century Continental philosophy which is phenomenology. Drawing upon Merleau-Ponty’s famous preface to his Phenomenology of Perception it is argued that an approach is distinctly phenomenological in so far as it is committed to describing the world from a first-person viewpoint. Aspiring both to universality (concerned with questions of what something essentially ‘is’) and yet also to offering ‘an account of space, time, and the world as we ‘live’ them’, phenomenology seeks access to larger structures of reality via an understanding of phenomena from within. A phenomenological description of human emergence will therefore seek to describe the phenomenon from the mother’s perspective and the chapter thus proceeds to evaluate the significance of maternal testimony, particularly a pregnant woman’s sense of being ‘decentred, split or doubled’.

Keywords:   phenomenology, Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, pregnancy

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