Alison Stone has been awarded a prestigious Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship to be held from 2017-2019, to write a book on Birth and Philosophy. These Leverhulme awards enable well-established and distinguished researchers in the humanities and social sciences to devote themselves to a single research project of outstanding originality and significance, capable of completion within two or three years. The award will pay for a lecturer to replace Alison during the two years of her research.
In her book Alison intends to provide the first systematic philosophical account of how the fact of our being born shapes our condition as human beings. Her monograph takes up the existentialist project of inquiring into the structure of meaningful human existence, but unlike other existentialists she will explore natality, i.e. human existence as it is shaped by our being born. Philosophers have generally ignored natality or failed to conceptualize it in its own right, although recent work in feminist philosophy has begun to rectify this. Taking natality into account transforms our view of human existence, shedding new light on our mortality, foregrounding our dependency on one another, and bringing additional phenomena – such as our relatedness to others and the temporal shape of human life – together in a new way. Thus, the book Birth and Philosophy and other related outputs will offer a new perspective on human existence that bears on many debates in feminist and continental philosophy and around death and the meaning of life.