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Call for Papers

Is Procreation Immoral?
Essays in Philosophy
Volume 20, Number 1
Issue Date: January 2019
Submission Deadline: October 20, 2018
General Editor: Ramona Ilea (Pacific University)
Issue Editor: Sarah Conly (Bowdoin College)

Essays in Philosophy is accepting submissions for a special issue called Is Procreation Immoral?

We may think of having children as a purely personal pursuit or as an act of hugely significant social importance, or, of course, as both. For some, having a child is a central feature of life, necessary to the pursuit of a fulfillment. For others, intentionally bringing a child into today’s world is a selfish assault on the welfare of others, as rising population threatens both the natural world and the human world.

  • How are we to evaluate procreation, for those who have the power to choose whether or not to have a child?
  • Is a childless life a less good life?
  • Or is a childfree life as fulfilling as any other?
  • Why exactly do we want children?
  • What is it that having a child brings to a life?
  • And how can we fairly assess the burden that having children may seem to place on others?
  • If for some a life with children is essential for meaning, can society require that meaning be sacrificed for the sake of the environment, or for the sake of future people?
  • Are there acceptable ways to encourage people to limit the number of children they produce? If so, what are those methods? Education? Providing incentives? Disincentives? Coercive fines? Could such measures be sensitive to differences in culture? Would they oppress or empower women, or the economically disadvantaged, or in general those with less power?
  • What about having just one child – is that bad for the child? Can it yield a satisfactory family life?

The issues involved in procreating, or in choosing not to procreate, or in having fewer children that one might have liked, are tremendous. In this volume we seek understanding of these and other complex issues involved in understanding the value of childbearing and child-rearing, in the family and in society.

Please follow the journal's guidelines for submissions.