“Before You Formed in the Womb I Knew You”: Sex Selection and Spaces of Ambiguity

Hypatia 25 (3):553-576 (2010)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The spaces provided by biotechnologies of sex selection are rich with epistemological, ontological, and ethical considerations that speak to broadly held social values and epistemic frameworks. In much of the discourse about sex selection that is not medically indicated, the figure of the “naturally” conceived child is treated as a problem for parents who want to select the sex of their child. As unknown, that child is ambiguous in terms of sex—“it” is both and neither, and might be the “wrong” sex. Drawing on Beauvoirean thinking about ambiguity and desire, I cast part of the desire to select the sex of a child as bound to an ethic and epistemology of disambiguation, and urge that the space of being-unknown is one to which each person is entitled.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 86,412

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Multilevel Selection and the Major Transitions in Evolution.Samir Okasha - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1013-1025.
The Dimensions of Selection.Peter Godfrey-Smith & Richard Lewontin - 1993 - Philosophy of Science 60 (3):373-395.
The natures of selection.Tim Lewens - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (2):313-333.
The “averaging fallacy” and the levels of selection.Samir Okasha - 2004 - Biology and Philosophy 19 (2):167-184.
The Six Million Dollar Rand. [REVIEW]Neil Parille - 2011 - Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 11 (2):237 - 248.
Parental Love and the Ethics of Sex Selection.Peter Herissone-Kelly - 2007 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 16 (3):326-335.
A more pluralist typology of selection processes.Bence Nanay - 2001 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (3):547-548.
Darwin's Ambiguity: The Secularization of Biological Meaning.David Kohn - 1989 - British Journal for the History of Science 22 (2):215-239.
Jaffray’s ideas on ambiguity.Peter P. Wakker - 2011 - Theory and Decision 71 (1):11-22.
Relating Bishopʼs function spaces to neighbourhood spaces.Hajime Ishihara - 2013 - Annals of Pure and Applied Logic 164 (4):482-490.
Quasi-apartness and neighbourhood spaces.Hajime Ishihara, Ray Mines, Peter Schuster & Luminiţa Vîţă - 2006 - Annals of Pure and Applied Logic 141 (1):296-306.


Added to PP

78 (#183,073)

6 months
3 (#340,008)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Anna E. Mudde
University of Regina

Citations of this work

A Feminist Critique of Justifications for Sex Selection.Tereza Hendl - 2017 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 14 (3):427-438.
Sex selection and global gender justice.Agomoni Ganguli-Mitra - 2021 - Journal of Social Philosophy 52 (2):217-233.
Queering the Odds: The Case Against "Family Balancing".Tereza Hendl - 2017 - International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 10 (2):4-30.
Is ‘gender disappointment’ a unique mental illness?Tereza Hendl & Tamara Kayali Browne - 2020 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 23 (2):281-294.

Add more citations