"Mama, Do You Love Me?": A Defense of Unloving Parents

In Adrienne Martin (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Love in Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 35-46 (2018)
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In this chapter I critique the contemporary Western ideal of unconditional maternal love. In the first section, I draw some preliminary distinctions and clarify the scope and limitations of my inquiry. In the second section, I argue that unloving mothers exist, and are not psychologically abnormal. In the third section, I go further and suggest that lack of maternal love can be fitting and even morally permissible. In the fourth section, I sketch some implications that lack of maternal love and unrequited filial love have for the debate on reasons for love. I conclude with avenues for future research.

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Sara Protasi
University of Puget Sound


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