Mahowald, Mary Briody 1935-

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Mahowald, Mary Briody 1935-


Born March 24, 1935, in Jamaica, NY; daughter of Thomas M. and Mae A. Briody; married Anthony P. Mahowald (a professor), April 11, 1971; children: Maureen, Lisa, Michael. Education: St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1965; Marquette University, M.A., 1967, Ph.D., 1969. Religion: Roman Catholic.


Home—Chicago, IL.


Schoolteacher in New York, NY, 1955-65; St. Joseph's College, Brooklyn, NY, instructor in philosophy, 1969-70; Villanova University, Villanova, PA, assistant professor of philosophy, 1970-72; Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, 1972-82, began as assistant professor, became associate professor of philosophy; Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, associate professor, 1982-89, professor of philosophy and biomedical ethics, 1989-90, Mather Visiting Professor, 1984-85, codirector of Center for Biomedical Ethics, 1985-88; University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, professor of medical ethics, 1990-2000, professor emerita, 2000—, senior scholar at MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, 1990-92, assistant director of the center, 1992—. Philosophy Documentation Center, assistant editor, 1977-80; University Hospitals of Cleveland, director of Ethics Program, 1987-89; Oberlin College, visiting professor, 1988. Indiana Committee for the Humanities, member of executive subcommittee, 1979-82; U.S. Office of Technology Assessment, member of Advisory Panel on New Developments in Neuroscience, 1988-90; U.S. Department of Defense, member of Breast Cancer Integration Panel, 1993-98; Stanford Unversity, visiting professor, 2001-02; National Women's Bioethics Project, board member; consultant to President's Council on Bioethics, 2003; member of advisory board to several organizations related to bioethics, feminist concerns, and related topics. Member of editorial board, "Social Philosophy Research Institute Book Series," 1990—; member of editorial board, Philosophy in Context and Journal for Peace and Justice, both 1988—, and Hypatia, 1991—.


North American Society for Social Philosophy (division cochair, 1981-94, copresident, 1995-97), American Philosophical Association, Indiana Philosophical Association (president, 1981-82), Society for Women in Philosophy, American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, Feminist Ethics and Social Thought, Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, International Association for Bioethics.


Grants from National Endowment for the Humanities, 1976 and 1978, American Philosophical Association, 1976, Armington Foundation for Values and Children, 1984 and 1988, National Institutes of Health, 1992-95, U.S. Department of Energy, 1996-99, American Council of Learned Societies, 1999-2000, and Rockefeller Foundation, 2000.


An Idealistic Pragmatism, Nijhoff (The Hague, Netherlands), 1972.

(Editor) Philosophy of Woman: Classical to Current Concepts, Hackett Publishing (Indianapolis, IN), 1978, 3rd edition, 1994.

Women and Children in Health Care: An Unequal Majority, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1993.

(With Anita Silvers and David Wasserman) Disability, Difference, Discrimination: Perspectives on Justice in Bioethics and Public Policy, afterword by Lawrence C. Becker, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (Lanham, MD), 1998.

Genes, Women, Equality, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Genetics in the Clinic: Clinical, Ethical, and Social Implications for Primary Care, Mosby (St. Louis, MO), 2001.

Bioethics and Women: Across the Life Span, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to books, including Human Values in Critical Care Medicine, edited by S.J. Youngner, Praeger (New York, NY), 1986; Bioethics and the Fetus, edited by J.M. Humber and R.A. Almeder, Humana Press, 1991; Debates over Medical Authority: New Challenges in Biomedical Experimentation, edited by R. Blank and A. Bonnicksen, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1992; Dental Ethics, edited by B.D. Weinstein, Lea & Febiger, 1993; and Women and Prenatal Testing, edited by K.H. Rothenberg and E.J. Thomson, Ohio State University Press (Columbus, OH), 1994. Contributor of more than 150 articles and reviews to professional journals. Assistant editor, Philosopher's Index Retrospective Edition, 1976-77; guest editor, Journal of Social Philosophy, 1986, Health Care Analysis, 2001, and Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 2005; special editor, Clinical Research, 1988.


Mary Briody Mahowald is a retired professor of biomedical ethics who writes about issues in women's health care. In her study Women and Children in Health Care: An Unequal Majority, Mahowald recently told CA, she "examines issues that affect the health care of those whose numerical majority is seldom matched by the quality of their care. Some issues that only or particularly affect women and children are rarely considered." According to Laura M. Purdy, reviewing the book for JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, Mahowald calls for "collaborative decision making and awareness of difference" in medical practice. She also proposes "various guidelines for egalitarianism," Purdy noted.

Mahowald formerly told CA: "I feel that the subtitle of my … book for Women and Children expresses the motivation for much of my teaching, research, writing, and clinical work. It is a remedial emphasis that was triggered by experience and nurtured early, when I decided to gather together in one text, and in a course I was teaching, the views of well-known philosophers on women. What I found was that the majority of these views were inconsistent with the authors' concepts of (supposedly generic) ‘man.’ In health care, too, I find that women's experience and perspective are often ignored, and that children are often unacknowledged as developing moral agents in their own right."



Choice, February, 1994, R.L. Jones, review of Women and Children in Health Care: An Unequal Majority, p. 961.

Ethics, July, 1995, Joan C. Callahan, review of Women and Children in Health Care, p. 950.

JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, May 18, 1994, Laura M. Purdy, review of Women and Children in Health Care, p. 1548.