II. A Conception of Childbirth
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II. A CONCEPTION OF CHILDBIRTH
1. The Paradigm: Hannah Arendt’s Philosophy of Natality
Hannah Arendt is most probably the only philosopher who has introduced birthgiving as a central category of philosophical and political thought.18 Although scattered in her work, her conception of natality is omnipresent in her thinking. This is why Hannah Arendt’s work is an ideal point of departure for any investigation into birthgiving/procreation. An excellent study by Patricia Bowen-Moore on Hannah Arendt’s philosophy of natality19 has allowed Arendt’s reflections on the topic to be systematized and thus to be evidenced as an underlying principle of her thought. According to Bowen-Moore, by natality Arendt describes three human experiences: “Factual natality – birth into the world; political natality – birth into the realm of action; and theoretical natality – birth into the timelessness of thought.”20
Hannah Arendt’s importance to the symbolic patterns of childbirth lies in her having placed primary natality among political and theoretical natality, all three being different ways of accessing a beginning. Her reflections can be connected to all four symbolic patterns of childbirth to be presented here but are particularly helpful for understanding “Theoretical, Spiritual and Political Natality versus Childbirth.” ← 25 | 26 →
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