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Summary Is there a moral right to parent? If so, what kind of right is it? On what grounds can one acquire a moral right to parent? What is the relationship between the moral and the legal right to parent? What is the relationship between moral, legal and social parenthood? What is the normative relevance of biological relationships between parents and children? What rights do parents have, and what are the grounds of parents' rights? What are the limits of parents' rights?
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  1. Creating Carnists.Rachel Fredericks & Jeremy Fischer - forthcoming - Philosophers' Imprint.
    We argue that individual and institutional caregivers have a defeasible moral duty to provide dependent children with plant-based diets and related education. Notably, our three arguments for this claim do not presuppose any general duty of veganism. Instead, they are grounded in widely shared intuitions about children’s interests and caregivers’ responsibilities, as well as recent empirical research relevant to children’s moral development, autonomy development, and physical health. Together, these arguments constitute a strong cumulative case against inculcating in children the dietary (...)
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  2. Children's Human Rights.Anca Gheaus - forthcoming - In Jesse Tomalty & Kerri Woods (eds.), Routledge Handbook for the Philosophy of Human Rights. Routledge. Translated by Kerri Woods.
    There is wide agreement that children have human rights, and that their human rights differ from those of adults. What explains this difference which is, at least at first glance, puzzling, given that human rights are meant to be universal? The puzzle can be dispelled by identifying what unites children’s and adults’ rights as human rights. Here I seek to answer the question of children’s human rights – that is, rights they have merely in virtue of being human and of (...)
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  3. Against private surrogacy: a child-centred view.Anca Gheaus - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
    Surrogacy involves a private agreement whereby a woman who gestates a child attempts to surrender her (putative) moral right to become the parent of that child such that another person (or persons), of the woman’s choice, can acquire it. Since people lack the normative power to privately transfer custody, attempts to do so are illegitimate, and the law should reflect this fact.
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  4. Feeding infants: Choice-specific considerations, parental obligation, and pragmatic satisficing.Clare Marie Moriarty & Ben Davies - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-17.
    Health institutions recommend that young infants be exclusively breastfed on demand, and it is widely held that parents who can breastfeed have an obligation to do so. This has been challenged in recent philosophical work, especially by Fiona Woollard. Woollard’s work critically engages with two distinct views of parental obligation that might ground such an obligation—based on maximal benefit and avoidance of significant harm—to reject an obligation to breastfeed. While agreeing with Woollard’s substantive conclusion, this paper (drawing on philosophical discussion (...)
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  5. Why Parent Together?Marcus William Hunt - 2023 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 19 (2):1-25.
    The paper offers an account of co-parenthood according to which co-parents are parent and child to one another. The paper begins by reviewing extant theories of the value of being a parent, to see whether the value of co-parenthood is reducible to this. Finding that it is not, I briefly elaborate a theory of parenthood on which parents are those who create persons. Using Aristotle’s four causes as a helpful prism, I outline how parents are the cause of their child, (...)
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  6. A Project View of the Right to Parent.Benjamin Lange - 2023 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 1:1-23.
    The institution of the family and its importance have recently received considerable attention from political theorists. Leading views maintain that the institution’s justification is grounded, at least in part, in the non-instrumental value of the parent-child relationship itself. Such views face the challenge of identifying a specific good in the parent-child relationship that can account for how adults acquire parental rights over a particular child—as opposed to general parental rights, which need not warrant a claim to parent one’s biological progeny. (...)
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  7. Caught in a School Choice Quandary: What should an equity-minded parent do?Michael Merry - 2023 - Theory and Research in Education 21 (2):155-175.
    In this article, I examine a case involving an equity-minded parent caught in a quandary about which school to select for her child, knowing that her decision may have consequences for others. To do so, I heuristically construct a fictional portrait and explore the deliberative process a parent might have through a dialogue taking place among ‘friends’, where each friend personifies a different set of ethical considerations. I then briefly consider two competing philosophical assessments but argue that neither position helpfully (...)
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  8. That only the elite should have children is a worrying argument. [REVIEW]P. M. Msimang - 2022 - South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 15 (1):6-7.
  9. Wrongful Influence in Educational Contexts.John Tillson - 2022 - In Kathryn Ann Hytten (ed.), The Oxford Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Education. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
    When and why are coercion, indoctrination, manipulation, deception, and bullshit morally wrongful modes of influence in the context of educating children? Answering this question requires identifying what valid claims different parties have against one another regarding how children are influenced. Most prominently among these, it requires discerning what claims children have regarding whether and how they and their peers are influenced, and against whom they have these claims. The claims they have are grounded in the weighty interests they each equally (...)
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  10. Against procreative moral rights.Jake Earl - 2021 - Bioethics 36 (5):569-575.
    Many contemporary ethical debates turn on claims about the nature and extent of our alleged procreative moral rights: moral rights to procreate or not to procreate as we choose. In this article, I argue that there are no procreative moral rights, in that generally we do not have a distinctive moral right to procreate or not to procreate as we choose. However, interference with our procreative choices usually violates our nonprocreative moral rights, such as our moral rights to bodily autonomy (...)
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  11. The Best Available Parent.Anca Gheaus - 2021 - Ethics 131 (3):431-459.
    There is a broad philosophical consensus that both children’s and prospective parents’ interests are relevant to the justification of a right to parent. Against this view, I argue that it is impermissible to sacrifice children’s interests for the sake of advancing adults’ interest in childrearing. Therefore, the allocation of the moral right to parent should track the child’s, and not the potential parent’s, interest. This revisionary thesis is moderated by two additional qualifications. First, parents lack the moral right to exclude (...)
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  12. Child-rearing With Minimal Domination: A Republican Account.Anca Gheaus - 2021 - Political Studies 69 (3).
    Parenting involves an extraordinary degree of power over children. Republicans are concerned about domination, which, on one view, is the holding of power that fails to track the interests of those over whom it is exercised. On this account, parenting as we know it is dominating due to the low standards necessary for acquiring and retaining parental rights and the extent of parental power. Domination cannot be fully eliminated from child-rearing without unacceptable loss of value. Most likely, republicanism requires that (...)
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  13. Naturalizing parenthood: Lessons from (some forms of) non‐traditional family‐making.Daniel Groll - 2021 - Journal of Social Philosophy 53 (3):356-370.
    Cases of non-traditional family-making offer a rich seam for thinking about normative parenthood. Gamete donors are genetically related to the resulting offspring but are not thought to be normative parents. Gestational surrogates are also typically not thought to be normative parents, despite having gestated a child. Adoptive parents are typically thought to be normative parents even though they are neither genetically nor gestationally related to their child. Philosophers have paid attention to these kinds of cases. But they have not paid (...)
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  14. Is Faith in School Integration Bad Faith?Michael S. Merry - 2021 - On Education 4 (11).
  15. Equality, Self-Government, and Disenfranchising Kids: A Reply to Yaffe.Michael Cholbi - 2020 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 2020 (2):281-297.
    Gideon Yaffe has recently argued that children should be subject to lower standards of criminal liability because, unlike adults, they ought to be disenfranchised. Because of their disenfranchisement, they lack the legal reasons enfranchised adults have to comply with the law. Here I critically consider Yaffe’s argument for such disenfranchisement, which holds that disenfranchisement balances children’s interest in self-government with adults’ interest in having an equal say over lawmaking. I argue that Yaffe does not succeed in showing that these two (...)
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  16. ‘Duped Fathers’, ‘Cuckoo Children’, and the Problem of Basing Fatherhood on Biology: A Philosophical Analysis.Daniela Cutas & Anna Smajdor - 2020 - In Assistierte Reproduktion mit Hilfe Dritter. Medizin - Ethik - Psychologie - Recht. Berlin, Heidelberg:
    Who is a child’s father? Is it the man who raised her, or the one whose genes she carries—or both? We look at the view that men who have raised children they falsely believed to be ‘their own’ have been victims of a form of fraud or are ‘false fathers’. We consider the question of who has been harmed in such cases, and in what the harm consists. We use conceptual analysis, a philosophical method of investigating the use of a (...)
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  17. New Zealand Policy on Frozen Embryo Disputes.Carolyn Mason - 2020 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 17 (1):121-131.
    Disputes between separated couples over whether frozen embryos can be used in an attempt to create a child create a moral dilemma for public policy. When a couple create embryos intending to parent any resulting children, New Zealand’s current policy requires the consent of both people at every stage of the ART process. New Zealand’s Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology has proposed a policy change that would give ex-partners involved in an embryo dispute twelve months to come to an (...)
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  18. More Co-parents, Fewer Children: Multiparenting and Sustainable Population.Anca Gheaus - 2019 - Essays in Philosophy 20 (1):3-23.
    Some philosophers argue that we should limit procreation – for instance, to one child per person or one child per couple – in order to reduce our aggregate carbon footprint. I provide additional support to the claim that population size is a matter of justice, by explaining that we have a duty of justice towards the current generation of children to pass on to them a sustainable population. But instead of, or, more likely, alongside with, having fewer children in in (...)
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  19. Parental Decision Making: The Best Interest Principle, Child Autonomy, and Reasonableness.Ryan Hubbard & Jake Greenblum - 2019 - HEC Forum 31 (3):233-240.
    On what basis should we judge whether a parent’s medical decision for their child is morally acceptable? In a recent article, Johan Bester attempts to answer this question by defending a version of the Best Interest Standard for parental decision making. The purpose of this paper is to identify a number of problems faced by Bester’s version of BIS and to suggest ways to redress these problems. Accordingly, we intend to advance the project of formulating a method for guiding parents’ (...)
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  20. Guidance and Intervention Principles in Pediatrics: The Need for Pluralism.Mark Christopher Navin & Jason Wasserman - 2019 - Journal of Clinical Ethics 30 (3):201-6.
    Two core questions in pediatric ethics concern when and how physicians are ethically permitted to intervene in parental treatment decisions (intervention principles), and the goals or values that should direct physicians’ and parents’ decisions about the care of children (guidance principles). Lainie Friedman Ross argues in this issue of The Journal of Clinical Ethics that constrained parental autonomy (CPA) simultaneously answers both questions: physicians should intervene when parental treatment preferences fail to protect a child’s basic needs or primary goods, and (...)
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  21. Children, Religion and the Ethics of Influence.John Tillson - 2019 - London: Bloomsbury.
    In Children, Religion and the Ethics of Influence, John Tillson develops a theory concerning which kinds of formative influence are morally permissible, impermissible or obligatory. Applying this theory to the case of religion, he argues that religious initiation in childhood is morally impermissible whether conducted by parents, teachers or others. Tillson addresses questions such as: how we come to have the ethical responsibilities we do, how we understand religion, how ethical and religious commitments can be justified, and what makes children (...)
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  22. Children and Added Sugar: The Case for Restriction.Theodore Bach - 2018 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 35 (S1):105-120.
    It is increasingly clear that children's excessive consumption of products high in added sugar causes obesity and obesity-related health problems like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome. Less clear is how best to address this problem through public health policy. In contrast to policies that might conflict with adult's right to self-determination — for example sugar taxes and soda bans — this article proposes that children's access to products high in added sugars should be restricted in the same (...)
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  23. Philosophical Foundations of Children's and Family Law.Elizabeth Brake & Lucinda Ferguson (eds.) - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    What defines family law? Is it an area of law with clean boundaries and unified distinguishing characteristics, or an untidy grouping of disparate rules and doctrines? What values or principles should guide it – and how could it be improved? Indeed, even the scope of family law is contested. Whilst some law schools and textbooks separate family law from children’s law, this is invariably effected without asking what might be gained or lost from treating them together or separately. Should family (...)
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  24. Procreative-parenting, love's reasons and the demands of morality.Luara Ferracioli - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (270):77-97.
    Many philosophers believe that the relationship between a parent and a child is objectively valuable, but few believe that there is any objective value in first creating a child in order to parent her. But if it is indeed true that all of the objective value of procreative-parenting comes from parenting, then it is hard to see how procreative-parenting can overcome two particularly pressing philosophical challenges. A first challenge is to show that it is morally permissible for prospective parents to (...)
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  25. What abolishing the family would not do.Anca Gheaus - 2018 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 21 (3):284-300.
    Because families disrupt fair patterns of distribution and, in particular, equality of opportunity, egalitarians believe that the institution of the family needs to be defended at the bar of justice. In their recent book, Harry Brighouse and Adam Swift have argued that the moral gains of preserving the family outweigh its moral costs. Yet, I claim that the egalitarian case for abolishing the family has been over-stated due to a failure to consider how alternatives to the family would also disturb (...)
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  26. Biological Parenthood: Gestational, Not Genetic.Anca Gheaus - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (2):225-240.
    Common sense morality and legislations around the world ascribe normative relevance to biological connections between parents and children. Procreators who meet a modest standard of parental competence are believed to have a right to rear the children they brought into the world. I explore various attempts to justify this belief and find most of these attempts lacking. I distinguish between two kinds of biological connections between parents and children: the genetic link and the gestational link. I argue that the second (...)
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  27. Children's Vulnerability and Legitimate Authority Over Children.Anca Gheaus - 2018 - Journal of Applied Philosophy:60-75.
    Children's vulnerability gives rise to duties of justice towards children and determines when authority over them is legitimately exercised. I argue for two claims. First, children's general vulnerability to objectionable dependency on their caregivers entails that they have a right not to be subject to monopolies of care, and therefore determines the structure of legitimate authority over them. Second, children's vulnerability to the loss of some special goods of childhood determines the content of legitimate authority over them. My interest is (...)
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  28. The Rights of Families and Children at the Border.Matthew J. Lister - 2018 - In Elizabeth Brake & Lucinda Ferguson (eds.), Philosophical Foundations of Children's and Family Law. Oxford University Press. pp. 153-170.
    Family ties play a particular and distinctive role in immigration policy. Essentially every country allows ‘family-based immigration’ of some sorts, and family ties may have significant importance in many other areas of immigration policy as well, grounding ‘derivative’ rights to asylum, providing access to citizenship and other benefits at accelerated rates, and serving as a shield from the danger of removal or deportation. Furthermore, status as a child may provide certain benefits to irregular migrants or others without proper immigration standing (...)
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  29. Raising a Child with Respect.Norvin Richards - 2018 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 35 (S1):90-104.
    Parents whose children will become adults are expected to help them do so, as opposed to only keeping them alive while they manage it on their own. The parental help must respect the child's standing as a separate individual: our children aren't ours to shape to our design, even if our aim is to help them flourish. But then how are we to raise our children with respect for their individuality? According to Matthew Clayton, doing so requires refraining from attempting (...)
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  30. Do Parental Licensing Schemes Violate the Rights of Biological Parents?Christian Barry & R. J. Leland - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (3):755-761.
  31. How Procreation Generates Parental Rights and Obligations.Michael Cholbi - 2017 - In Michael Cholbi & Jaime Ahlberg (eds.), Procreation, Parenthood, and Educational Rights: Ethical and Philosophical Issues. Routledge.
    Philosophical defenses of parents’ rights typically appeal to the interests of parents, the interests of children, or some combination of these. Here I propose that at least in the case of biological, non-adoptive parents, these rights have a different normative basis: namely, these rights should be accorded to biological parents because of the compensatory duties such parents owe their children by virtue of having brought them into existence. Inspried by Seana Shiffrin, I argue that procreation inevitably encumbers the wills of (...)
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  32. The Harm Principle and Parental Licensing.Andrew Jason Cohen - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (4):825-849.
    Hugh LaFollette proposed parental licensing in 1980 (and 2010)--not as a requirement for pregnancy, but for raising a child. If you have a baby, are not licensed, and do not get licensed, the baby would be put up for adoption. Despite the intervention required in an extremely personal area of life, I argue that those who endorse the harm principle ought to endorse parental licensing of this sort. Put differently, I show how the harm principle strengthens the case for parental (...)
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  33. Review of Françoise Baylis and Carolyn McLeod, eds.: Family-making: contemporary ethical challenges: Oxford University Press, New York, 2014. [REVIEW]Inmaculada de Melo-Martín - 2017 - Monash Bioethics Review 34 (3-4):239-242.
  34. Sufficientarian Parenting Must be Child-Centered.Anca Gheaus - 2017 - Law, Ethics and Philosophy 5:189-197.
    Liam Shields’ sufficientarian commitments mean that he should subscribe to a child-centered account of the right to parent. This point most likely generalizes: sufficientarians who acknowledge children’s full moral status must embrace a child-centered account of the right to parent.
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  35. The chain of love and duty.Anca Gheaus - 2017 - Forum for European Philosophy Blog.
    Anca Gheaus considers the reasons we owe our children a sustainable world.
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  36. Parental genetic shaping and parental environmental shaping.Anca Gheaus - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (267):20-31.
    Analytic philosophers tend to agree that intentional parental genetic shaping and intentional parental environmental shaping for the same feature are, normatively, on a par. I challenge this view by advancing a novel argument, grounded in the value of fair relationships between parents and children: Parental genetic shaping is morally objectionable because it unjustifiably exacerbates the asymmetry between parent and child with respect to the voluntariness of their entrance into the parent–child relationship. Parental genetic shaping is, for this reason, different from (...)
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  37. No Longer as Free as the Wind: Human Reproduction and Parenting Enter the Scope of Morality; Review Essay.Lantz Fleming Miller - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (3):657-664.
    Camus considered the most crucial philosophical problem to be that of suicide—whether to discontinue your existence by endingit. Alternatively, a most crucial philosophical problem may be procreation—whether to continue human existence by making new humans. The topic has spurred an increasing amount of debate over the past decade, with marked diversion with Anscomb’s comment that it makes no moral sense to inquire whether one should reproduce. One might as well ask why digest food or why should the wind blow. This (...)
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  38. The Moral Foundations of Parenthood.Joseph Millum - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
    In this book, Joseph Millum explains how parental rights and responsibilities are acquired, what they consist in, and how parents should go about making decisions on behalf of their children. In doing so, he provides a set of frameworks to help solve pressing ethical dilemmas relating to parents and children.
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  39. Children’s Rights and Parents’ Rights. [REVIEW]Robert Mullins - 2017 - Jurisprudence 8 (3):701-710.
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  40. The Ethics of Vaccination Nudges in Pediatric Practice.Mark C. Navin - 2017 - HEC Forum 29 (1):43-57.
    Techniques from behavioral economics—nudges—may help physicians increase pediatric vaccine compliance, but critics have objected that nudges can undermine autonomy. Since autonomy is a centrally important value in healthcare decision-making contexts, it counts against pediatric vaccination nudges if they undermine parental autonomy. Advocates for healthcare nudges have resisted the charge that nudges undermine autonomy, and the recent bioethics literature illustrates the current intractability of this debate. This article rejects a principle to which parties on both sides of this debate sometimes seem (...)
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  41. Prioritizing Parental Liberty in Non-medical Vaccine Exemption Policies: A Response to Giubilini, Douglas and Savulescu.Mark Christopher Navin & Mark Aaron Largent - 2017 - Public Health Ethics 10 (3).
    In a recent paper published in this journal, Giubilini, Douglas and Savulescu argue that we have given insufficient weight to the moral importance of fairness in our account of the best policies for non-medical exemptions to childhood immunization requirements. They advocate for a type of policy they call Contribution, according to which parents must contribute to important public health goods before their children can receive NMEs to immunization requirements. In this response, we argue that Giubilini, Douglas and Savulescu give insufficient (...)
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  42. Better Parenting through Biomedical Modification: A Case for Pluralism, Deference, and Charity.David Wasserman - 2017 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 27 (2):217-247.
    The moral limits on how, and how much, parents may attempt to shape their children depend on what the moral project of parenthood is all about. A great deal has been written in the past forty years on the moral functions of parents and families and the acquisition and character of parental duties and rights. There has also been a great deal of philosophical writing on the use of technologies to create, select, and modify children, with such seminal works as (...)
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  43. Parental Education and Expensive Consumption Habits.Danielle Zwarthoed - 2017 - Journal of Applied Philosophy (2):825-843.
    The aim of this article is to investigate the general and special obligations of parents with respect to the shaping of consumption habits, from a liberal egalitarian perspective. The article argues that, in virtue of them being well placed to shape the next generation's consumption habits, parents have a duty of justice to prevent their children from developing expensive consumption habits in order to enable them to leave their fair share to others. In virtue of the special relationship they have (...)
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  44. Licensing Parents in International Contract Pregnancies.Andrew Botterell & Carolyn McLeod - 2015 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 33 (2):178-196.
    The Hague Conference on Private International Law currently has a Parentage/Surrogacy Project, which evaluates the legal status of children in cross-border situations, including situations involving international contract pregnancy. Should a convention focusing on international contract pregnancy emerge from this project, it will need to be consistent with the Hague convention on Intercountry Adoption. The latter convention prohibits adoptions unless, among other things, ‘the competent authorities of the receiving State have determined that the prospective adoptive parents are eligible and suited to (...)
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  45. Parental partiality and the intergenerational transmission of advantage.Thomas Douglas - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (10):2735-2756.
    Parents typically favour their own children over others’. For example, most parents invest more time and money in their own children than in other children. This parental partiality is usually regarded as morally permissible, or even obligatory, but it can have undesirable distributive effects. For example, it may create unfair or otherwise undesirable advantages for the favoured child. A number of authors have found it necessary to justify parental partiality in the face of these distributive concerns, and they have typically (...)
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  46. Why the Family?Luara Ferracioli - 2015 - Law, Ethics and Philosophy 3:205-219.
    Among the most pressing philosophical questions occupying those interested in the ethics of the family is why should parents, as opposed to charity workers or state officials, raise children. In their recent Family Values, Brighouse and Swift have further articulated and strengthen their own justification of the parent-child relationship by appealing to its crucial role in enabling the child’s proper development and in allowing parents to play a valuable fiduciary role in the lives of children. In this paper, I argue (...)
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  47. Could There Ever Be a Duty to Have Children?Anca Gheaus - 2015 - In Sarah Hannan, Samantha Brennan & Richard Vernon (eds.), Permissible Progeny?: The Morality of Procreation and Parenting. New York, US: Oxford University Press USA. pp. 87-106.
    This chapter argues that there is a collective responsibility to have enough children in order to ensure that people will not, in the future, suffer great harm due to depopulation. Moreover, if people stopped having children voluntarily, it could be legitimate for states to incentivize and maybe even coerce individuals to bear and rear children. Various arguments against the enforceability of an individual duty to bear and rear children are examined. Coercing people to have children would come at significant moral (...)
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  48. Values and Vaccine Refusal: Hard Questions in Ethics, Epistemology, and Health Care.Mark Navin - 2015 - Routledge.
    Parents in the US and other societies are increasingly refusing to vaccinate their children, even though popular anti-vaccine myths – e.g. ‘vaccines cause autism’ – have been debunked. This book explains the epistemic and moral failures that lead some parents to refuse to vaccinate their children. First, some parents have good reasons not to defer to the expertise of physicians, and to rely instead upon their own judgments about how to care for their children. Unfortunately, epistemic self-reliance systematically distorts beliefs (...)
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  49. Parental Responsibility and Entitlement.Anna-Karin Andersson - 2014 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 28 (1):49-69.
    This paper discusses parents’ rights and duties regarding their offspring from a certain classical liberal perspective. Approaching this issue from this perspective is particularly interesting for two reasons. First, classical liberalism’s alleged inability to explain the rights of very young human beings is a serious objection against such theories. Second, if we are able to show that a version of classical liberalism not only avoids this objection but actually implies very strong parental obligations to support offspring, the case for extensive (...)
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  50. Parental Obligations and Bioethics: The Duties of a Creator, Bernard G. Prusak, Routledge, 2013. [REVIEW]Jake Earl - 2014 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 24 (4):E1-E5.
    Parental Obligations and Bioethics: The Duties of a Creator collects and supplements Bernard G. Prusak’s work on the ethics of procreation and parenthood, and applies his unique theoretical approach to related issues in bioethics and social philosophy. In this review, I’ll first summarize what I take to be the argumentative core of the book, and then offer a brief critical assessment.
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