Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Volume 11, Issue 1, Summer 2004

Feminist Apporoaches to the Body

Margrit Shildrick
Pages 77-85

Reconfiguring the Bioethics of Reproduction

The paper contends that, despite critiquing certain aspects of modernist thought feminist bioethics has become stuck in its own inadequate paradigms that pay insufficient attention to either the theoretical insights of postmodernism, or to the capacities of biotechnology in the postmodern era to disrupt prior certainties. In the face of an incalculable expansion of both theoretical and material possibilities, feminist bioethicists working in the field of reproduction have remained largely unwilling to reconfigure notions such as embodiment, subjectivity, agency, and so on. There is little recognition of a need for an openness to the shifting complexities, or to think without prior determination. Starting with a brief critique of the normative values of one governmental body concerned with biotechnology, I move on to suggest how postmodernism mightframe an appropriate bioethical response, both to the explicit material issues, and to a rethinking of ethics itself.