HRO reviews new book by former IJFAB editor Mary Rawlinson on sexual difference

This image shows the cover of Mary Rawlinson's book "Just Life: Bioethics and the Future of Sexual Difference."  The pullquote from the review is "...Rawlinson does not wish to eliminate an appeal to universality, but rather to reorient it based on two features common to all humans: everyone is born of a woman and everyone must eat other living beings, whether plants or animals, to survive."As you may know, bioethicist Mary Rawlinson saw the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics through much of its first decade as Editor. Over at Hypatia Reviews Online, Jordan Liz has a review of Rawlinson’s new book.

Liz notes that Rawlinson sets out to question the Western philosophical touchstone of the universal, sexless human which is the putative foundation of so much social and political philosophy in the Western canon. Rawlinson questions this, working through the implications of acknowledging that this universal, sexless human neither actually exists nor actually gives rise to just societies. How can we attend to sexual difference and yet not end up in patriarchy?

Liz adeptly takes us on a tour of Rawlinson’s critiques of Hobbes, Hegel, and more canonical figures of Western philosophy. Rawlinson brings all this around to bioethics by considering biopower, both in terms of generativity generally and also in terms of food: what we grow, how we decide that, what we eat, and more.

For someone concerned with critiques of liberalism and/or with food ethics, this book may be an interesting place to start. And for someone interested in the book, this review may be a good place to start.

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