14. The Virtues of Motherhood

  1. Sheila Lintott Assistant Professor of Philosophy
  1. Nin Kirkham lecturer

Published Online: 13 AUG 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444324525.ch14

Motherhood - Philosophy for Everyone

Motherhood - Philosophy for Everyone

How to Cite

Kirkham, N. (2010) The Virtues of Motherhood, in Motherhood - Philosophy for Everyone (ed S. Lintott), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444324525.ch14

Editor Information

  1. Bucknell University, USA

Author Information

  1. University of Western Australia, Australia

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



  • virtues of motherhood;
  • role of mother, unique - unlike any other role a woman can occupy;
  • on becoming mothers – women's clear idea of the sort of parent they want to be;
  • becoming a mother, bringing with it unexpected challenges - and inevitable complications;
  • motherhood and virtue ethics - questions on how should I live than what should, or must, I do?;
  • virtue theories, for an agent to live a good or virtuous life overall;
  • Aristotelian virtue ethics, virtue elucidated - vice of excess and a vice of deficit;
  • knowing when to let go - virtue of liberality or virtue of knowing when to let go;
  • children taking their parents' behavior as a model - showing children how a good life is lived;
  • three key virtues of motherhood - endurance, liberality and moral exemplarity


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • The Complex Unity

  • Endurance Helps

  • Knowing When to Let Go

  • Following Your Example

  • Imitation is the Highest Form of…

  • Notes