I am very grateful to two readers for Oxford University Press who gave me extensive and extremely helpful comments. Many chapters of this book are more nuanced as a result of their critical scrutiny and generosity. I’m also grateful to OUP editor Lucy Randall for her careful reading of the manuscript and her many wise suggestions.

My colleague at Southern Methodist University, Justin Fisher, read the whole manuscript at two stages. This book is better thanks to his detailed and challenging feedback; I’m especially in his debt for a number of points about embryonic metaphysics in chapter 5. I’m also indebted to Justin for inviting me to discuss the manuscript with the Dallas Fellowship of Freethought’s philosophy club. Members of the group made me see where new points had to be added, anecdotes added or subtracted, arguments tightened. Thanks very much to you all!

I’m also grateful to two delightful groups of students who took my class on procreation and parenthood at SMU, giving me a chance to try out ideas and offering me their own insights and examples.

I appreciate Lucas Heinrich’s amusing interpretation of my title on the cover. Of course philosophical parents don’t have to be a mother and a father, or white, or affluent enough to have a nice baby carriage and flowing togas. Philosophical parents can be all sorts of people, raising children in all sorts of circumstances.

Parts of chapters 11 and 18 started life as parts of three essays published in The Philosophers’ Magazine: “The Good Life and the Mommy Wars” (2007); “Family Ties” (2011); and “Our Children, Ourselves” (2015). Passages from chapter 15 started off as an essay published in Free Inquiry: “People Don’t Die, Do They?” (2007).

The personal anecdotes in this book are true stories, or at least as accurate as I could make them, writing many years after the original events or conversations; names have been changed and personal details slightly altered. To friends whose stories I tell: I’m grateful to you for the wonderful times and great conversations we’ve had as parents. I’m also grateful to the smart babysitter discussed in chapter 14.

Thank you most of all to my husband, Peter, for making so many things possible and for being a great editor. And thank you also to our children, Becky and Sam, for putting up with this book.

< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >