13. The off Button

Thought Experiments and Child Control

  1. Sheila Lintott Assistant Professor of Philosophy
  1. Sara Goering Assistant Professor

Published Online: 13 AUG 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444324525.ch13

Motherhood - Philosophy for Everyone

Motherhood - Philosophy for Everyone

How to Cite

Goering, S. (2010) The off Button, in Motherhood - Philosophy for Everyone (ed S. Lintott), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444324525.ch13

Editor Information

  1. Bucknell University, USA

Author Information

  1. University of Washington, Seattle, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 AUG 2010
  2. Published Print: 24 SEP 2010

Book Series:

  1. Philosophy for Everyone

Book Series Editors:

  1. Fritz Allhoff

Series Editor Information

  1. Western Michigan University, USA

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444330281

Online ISBN: 9781444324525



  • motherhood, is this everything - fantasy meeting reality;
  • off button - thought experiments and control of children;
  • thinking about this shared fantasy;
  • the child - would simply “wake up” feeling rested;
  • philosophical thought experiments, fodder for stories and film - Harry Potter and his cloak of invisibility;
  • busy making good use of moments of peace - and children would not be getting any benefit;
  • Judith Warner referring to “the Mess” - in her Perfect Madness - Mothering in the Age of Anxiety;
  • thinking about - our thinking about this fantasy;
  • off buttons, not for children but adults also - spousal off button, mother-in-law off button, drunken uncle off button;
  • children in testing our patience - driving us out of our minds, limiting our control over them


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • A Shared Fantasy

  • Thinking About This Shared Fantasy

  • Thinking About Our Thinking About This Fantasy

  • Notes