Unity and duality in the experience of pregnancy: for a hermeneutics of the maternal body


  • Ilaria Malagrinò Università Roma Tre, Dipartimento di Scienze della Formazione




philosophy of pregnancy, pregnant body, flesh, bodily identity, violence against women


The medicalization of pregnancy and the different types of medically assisted procreation have allowed us to codify the mysterious symbolism of human gestation. It has become a bodily event of nine months, an observable and clinically controllable biological process.

This happening has paved the way for unthinkable possibilities, allowing for the realization of desessualized, late and surrogate motherhoods. Nevertheless it has contributed to the reduction and to the alienation of the specific and embodied complexity of the procreative experience, as Young recognized in the 1980s. Thus new forms of violence and exploitation, declined in the name of usability, threaten the happy success of the human conception and birth.

Therefore, the aim of this paper is to give a new voice to carnality in pregnancy in its contradictory “dual unity” and in its “subjective anatomy”, in order to show, as Henry maintains, that the human body, as living body, is a way of life of the ego, is an I, active in its material changes and not pure inert substratum, and to trace, subsequently, the lines of a hermeneutics of procreation.

This question is even more pressing because what is at stake is the human being that we are generating and delivering to the future.





Human nature, soul and body. Convergence of perspectives