Parenthood

Edited by Anca Gheaus (Central European University)
About this topic
Summary What is a parent? 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? What are parents' duties? What is the relationship between parental rights and parental duties? What is a good parent?
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Subcategories:History/traditions: Parenthood

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  1. What is Desirable About Having a Child with a Romantic Partner?Marcus William Hunt - 2021 - Philosophical Papers 50 (2):187-210.
    Most people desire to have a romantic relationship, and most people desire to have a child. The paper suggests one respect in which it is more desirable to have a child with a romantic partner rather than with someone other than a romantic partner, as platonic parents do. The first premise claims that the romantic relationship, and only this relationship, has a certain desire as a constitutive part. This is the desire to be as related to someone as one can (...)
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  2. The Problem of Authority and Divorce.Danielle Levitan - 2021 - Keele Law Review 2:63-91.
    In this paper, I argue against any state intrusion and interference that amounts to scrutiny of parents based on their decision to separate. The state, to my mind, ought not to be involved in childrearing decisions in cases of divorce unless there is a sufficient reason, and, as I will argue, divorce per se does not present a level of risk to children that justifies state intervention. The claims I am about to make apply not only to parental capability tests (...)
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  3. A Defence of Parental Compromise Concerning Veganism.Marcus William Hunt - 2021 - Ethics and Education 1 (1):1-14.
    Co-parents who differ in their ideal child rearing policies should compromise, argues Marcus William Hunt. Josh Milburn and Carlo Alvaro dispute this when it comes to veganism. Milburn argues that veganism is a matter of justice and that to compromise over justice is (typically) impermissible. I suggest that compromise over justice is often permissible, and that compromise over justice may be required by justice itself. Alvaro offers aesthetic, gustatory, and virtue-based arguments for ethical veganism, showing that veganism involves sensibilities and (...)
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  4. Parenthood and the Concept of the Biological Tie.Hane Htut Maung - 2021 - Journal of Diversity and Gender Studies 2 (7):7-19.
    It is widely assumed that there is value in the biological tie between parent and child. An implication of this is that adoption is often considered a less desirable alternative to procreation. This paper offers a philosophical defence of adoptive parenthood as a valuable and authentic form of parenthood. While previous defences have suggested that society’s valorisation of the biological tie is unjustified, I argue herein that the conception of the biological tie that features in the normative discourse on parenthood (...)
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  5. Should the Baby Live? Abortion and Infanticide: When Ontology Overlaps Ethics and Peter Singer Echoes the Stoics.Evangelos D. Protopapadakis - 2010 - In Ancient Culture, European and Serbian Heritage. pp. 396-407.
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  6. Neurobiological Limits and the Somatic Significance of Love: Caregivers’ Engagements with Neuroscience in Scottish Parenting Programmes.Tineke Broer, Martyn Pickersgill & Sarah Cunningham-Burley - 2020 - History of the Human Sciences 33 (5):85-109.
    While parents have long received guidance on how to raise children, a relatively new element of this involves explicit references to infant brain development, drawing on brain scans and neuroscientific knowledge. Sometimes called ‘brain-based parenting’, this has been criticised from within sociological and policy circles alike. However, the engagement of parents themselves with neuroscientific concepts is far less researched. Drawing on 22 interviews with parents/carers of children living in Scotland, this article examines how they account for their use of concepts (...)
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  7. Mothering in the Frame: Cinematic Microanalysis and the Pathogenic Mother, 1945–67.Katie Joice - 2021 - History of the Human Sciences 34 (5):105-131.
    This article examines the use of cinematic microanalysis to capture, decompose, and interpret mother–infant interaction in the decades following the Second World War. Focusing on the films and writings of Margaret Mead, Ray Birdwhistell, René Spitz, and Sylvia Brody, it examines the intellectual culture, and visual methodologies, that transformed ‘pathogenic’ mothering into an observable process. In turn, it argues that the significance assigned to the ‘small behaviours’ of mothers provided an epistemological foundation for the nascent discipline of infant psychiatry. This (...)
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  8. Facing the Responsibility of Parenthood in the Films of the Dardenne Brothers.John McAteer - 2020 - Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal 103 (3):346-366.
    This article analyzes the way the films of Belgian writer-directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne portray characters taking responsibility for children and children allowing others to take responsibility for them. Though the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas provides a starting point, this article focuses primarily on a close reading of the Dardennes' films themselves. It argues that these films illuminate the nature of parenthood and suggest a unified definition of parenthood that encompasses both biological parenthood and adoption. In both cases a parent (...)
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  9. What Grounds Special Treatment Between Siblings?Marcus William Hunt - 2020 - Etikk I Praksis - Nordic Journal of Applied Ethics 14 (1):67-83.
    Siblings ought to treat one another specially – in other words, siblings qua siblings ought to treat one another in ways that they need not treat others. This paper offers a theory of why this is the case. The paper begins with some intuitive judgments about how siblings ought to treat one another and some other normative features of siblinghood. I then review three potential theories of why siblings ought to treat one another specially, adapted from the literature on filial (...)
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  10. The Composition of the Family.Daniela Cutas - 2018 - In The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Childhood and Children.
    The chapter starts with an exploration of what the family is in order then to move on to look at its parts. The family has been defined in terms of its form (e.g. a mother, a father, and their biological offspring) or its function (e.g. adults taking and/or sharing custodial responsibility for children). In both of these cases, children are a necessary ingredient for a unit to be called a family – but the chapter also briefly reviews proposals to extend (...)
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  11. Requirements to Justify Breastfeeding in Public: A Philosophical Analysis.Fiona Woollard - 2019 - International Breastfeeding Journal 14 (14):14-26.
    It may be tempting for breastfeeding advocates to respond to challenges to breastfeeding older children or breastfeeding in public by pointing out the nutritional or developmental benefits of breastfeeding or by noting that breastfeeding is often extremely discreet. Such responses may concede more than they should: by focusing on rebutting the empirical claim, breastfeeding supporters may end up implicitly accepting two presuppositions about breastfeeding: first, the presupposition that breastfeeding requires justification in terms of health or developmental benefits to the child; (...)
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  12. Understanding the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative: A Multidisciplinary Analysis.Erica Preston-Roedder, Hannah Fagen, Jessica Martucci & Anne Barnhill - 2019 - International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 12 (2):117-147.
    In the United States, roughly 1 out of 4 births takes place at a hospital certified as Baby-Friendly. This paper offers a multi-disciplinary perspective on the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), including empirical, normative, and historical perspectives. Our analysis is novel in that we trace how medical practices of “quality improvement,” which initially appear to have little to do with breastfeeding, may have shaped the BFHI. Ultimately, we demonstrate that a rich understanding of the BFHI can be obtained by tracing how (...)
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  13. The Identity-Enactment Account of Associative Duties.Saba Bazargan-Forward - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2351-2370.
    Associative duties are agent-centered duties to give defeasible moral priority to our special ties. Our strongest associative duties are to close friends and family. According to reductionists, our associative duties are just special duties—i.e., duties arising from what I have done to others, or what others have done to me. These include duties to abide by promises and contracts, compensate our benefactors in ways expressing gratitude, and aid those whom we have made especially vulnerable to our conduct. I argue, though, (...)
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  14. Why is an Egg Donor a Genetic Parent, but Not a Mitochondrial Donor?Monika Piotrowska - 2019 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 28 (3):488-498.
    What’s the basis for considering an egg donor a genetic parent but not a mitochondrial donor? I will argue that a closer look at the biological facts will not give us an answer to this question because the process by which one becomes a genetic parent, i.e., the process of reproduction, is not a concept that can be settled by looking. It is, rather, a concept in need of philosophical attention. The details of my argument will rest on recent developments (...)
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  15. A Conception of Genetic Parenthood.Thomas Douglas & Katrien Devolder - 2019 - Bioethics 33 (1):54-59.
    We seek to develop a plausible conception of genetic parenthood, taking a recent discussion by Heidi Mertes as our point of departure. Mertes considers two conceptions of genetic parenthood—one invoking genetic resemblance, and the other genetic inheritance—and presents counter-examples to both conceptions. We revise Mertes’ second conception so as to avoid these and related counter-examples.
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  16. Contemporary Forms of Eugenics.Robert A. Wilson - 2017 - eLS Wiley Online.
    Eugenics is commonly thought of as having endured as science and social movement only until 1945. With the advance of both reproductive and enhancement technologies, however, concern has arisen that eugenics has resurfaced in new forms. In particular, the eugenic potential of the Human Genome Project led to talk of the rise of ‘newgenics’ and of a backdoor to eugenics. This article focuses on such concerns deriving from the practice of prenatal screening and technologies that increase our ability to generate (...)
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  17. The Foundations of Licensing Parents.Michael McFall - 2010 - In Stephen Scales, Adam Potthast & Linda Oravecz (eds.), The Ethics of the Family. Cambridge: Cambridge Publishers.
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  18. There is No Right to the Death of the Fetus.Perry Hendricks - 2018 - Bioethics (6):1-3.
    Joona Räsänen, in his article ‘Ectogenesis, abortion and a right to the death of the fetus’, has argued for the view that parents have a right to the death of the fetus. In this article, I will explicate the three arguments Räsänen defends, and show that two of them have false or unmotivated premises and hence fail, and that the support he offers for his third argument is inconsistent with other views he expresses in his article. Therefore, I conclude that (...)
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  19. Procreation, Parenthood, and Educational Rights: Ethical and Philosophical Issues.Jaime Ahlberg & Michael Cholbi - 2016 - Routledge.
    _Procreation, Parenthood, and Educational Rights_ explores important issues at the nexus of two burgeoning areas within moral and social philosophy: procreative ethics and parental rights. Surprisingly, there has been comparatively little scholarly engagement across these subdisciplinary boundaries, despite the fact that parental rights are paradigmatically ascribed to individuals responsible for procreating particular children. This collection thus aims to bring expert practitioners from these literatures into fruitful and innovative dialogue around questions at the intersection of procreation and parenthood. Among these questions (...)
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  20. The Moral Status of the Family.Daniela Cutas & Anna Smajdor - 2017 - Etikk I Praksis - Nordic Journal of Applied Ethics 11 (1):5.
    The family is commonly regarded as being an important social institution. In several policy areas, evidence can be found that the family is treated as an entity towards which others can have moral obligations; it has needs and interests that require protection; it can be ill and receive treatment. The interests attributed to the family are not reducible to those of its members – and may even come into conflict with them. Using Warren's criteria for moral status, we show that, (...)
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  21. Feminist Reflections on Miscarriage, in Light of Abortion.Kate Parsons - 2010 - International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 3 (1):1.
    In 2006, and again in 2007, I suffered the miscarriages of two wanted and painstakingly planned pregnancies. In the aftermath of each, I found myself unprepared, as do many women who miscarry, for the devastation I would feel. In my attempts to cope, I sought solace in the written testimony of other women who had miscarried, in the medical statistics that reassured me I still had a strong chance of carrying another pregnancy to term, in the experiences of friends and (...)
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  22. Children’s Emotional and Behavioral Problems and Their Mothers’ Labor Supply.Richard Patrick, J. Gaskin Darrell, K. Alexandre Pierre, S. Burke Laura & Younis Mustafa - 2014 - Inquiry: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing 51:004695801455794.
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  23. Parents and Children as Friends.KristjÁn KristjÁnsson - 2006 - Journal of Social Philosophy 37 (2):250-265.
  24. Having and Raising Children: Unconventional Families, Hard Choices, Social Good.Isaac D. Balbus - 2002 - Hypatia 17 (2):162-165.
  25. Adoption is Not Abortion‐Lite.Lindsey Porter - 2012 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 29 (1):63-78.
    abstractIt is standardly taken for granted in the literature on the morality of abortion that adoption is almost always an available and morally preferable alternative to abortion — one that does the same thing so far as parenthood is concerned. This assumption pushes proponents of a woman's right to choose into giving arguments that are based almost exclusively around the physicality of pregnancy and childbirth. On the other side of the debate, the assumption that adoption is a real alternative seems (...)
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  26. The Moral Significance of the Genetic Relation.Edmund Abegg - 1984 - Journal of Medical Humanities 5 (2):127-144.
    Our ordinary moral attitudes give a prominent place to the principle that each person ought specially to care for any child who is his or her genetic offspring. From this principle of genetic-parental responsibility and other plausible premises, we can derive the principle that each person has the right to control the genetic use of his or her own genes. But there are competing principles of parental responsibility that require consideration. Principles of nurture are among the important competitors. Also, the (...)
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  27. Moral Duties of Parents and Nontherapeutic Clinical Research Procedures Involving Children.Terrence F. Ackerman - 1980 - Journal of Medical Humanities 2 (2):94-111.
    Shared views regarding the moral respect which is owed to children in family life are used as a guide in determining the moral permissibility of nontherapeutic clinical research procedures involving children. The comparison suggests that it is not appropriate to seek assent from the preadolescent child. The analogy with interventions used in family life is similarly employed to specify the permissible limit of risk to which children may be exposed in nontherapeutic research procedures. The analysis indicates that recent writers misconceive (...)
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  28. Learned Versus "Spontaneous" Dietetics: French Mothers' Views of What Children Should Eat.Claude Fischler - 1986 - Social Science Information 25 (4):945-965.
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  29. IVF, Same-Sex Couples and the Value of Biological Ties.Ezio Di Nucci - 2016 - Journal of Medical Ethics 42 (12):784-787.
    Ought parents, in general, to value being biologically tied to their children? Is it important, in particular, that both parents be biologically tied to their children? I will address these fundamental questions by looking at a fairly new practice within IVF treatments, so-called IVF-with-ROPA ( Reception of Oocytes from Partner ), which allows lesbian couples to „share motherhood‟ with one partner providing the eggs while the other becomes pregnant. I believe that IVF-with-ROPA is, just like other IVF treatments, morally permissible; (...)
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  30. The Algebra of Fatherhood.Barbara Dolinska - 2013 - Polish Psychological Bulletin 44 (3):354-357.
    Whereas women are sure of their biological maternity, men can never be fully certain of paternity and instead need to rely on indirect cues to assess whether they are likely to be father of their putative children. According to the psychological literature, men commonly use the information on the resemblance of offspring to self as an indicator of genetic relatedness. It seems, however, that in the absence of such a resemblance, similarity between a mother and a child might be important, (...)
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  31. Surrogate Motherhood. Loewy - 1988 - Philosophy in Context 18:36-44.
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  32. Procreation and Parenthood.Elizabeth Brake & Joseph Millum - 2012 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  33. The Normative Importance of Pregnancy Challenges Surrogacy Contracts.Anca Gheaus - 2016 - Analize. Journal of Gender and Feminist Studies 6 (20):20-31.
    Birth mothers usually have a moral right to parent their newborns in virtue of a mutual attachment formed, during gestation, between the gestational mother and the fetus. The attachment is formed, in part, thanks to the burdens of pregnancy, and it serves the interest of the newborn; the gestational mother, too, has a powerful interest in the protection of this attachment. Given its justification, the right to parent one's gestated baby cannot be transferred at will to other people who would (...)
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  34. Parental Enhancement and Symmetry of Power in the Parent–Child Relationship.Anca Gheaus - 2016 - Journal of Medical Ethics 42 (6):70-89.
    Many instances of parental enhancement are objectionable on egalitarian grounds because they unnecessarily amplify one kind of asymmetry of power between parents and children. Because children have full moral status, we ought to seek egalitarian relationships with them. Such relationships are compatible with asymmetries of power only to the extent to which the asymmetry is necessary for (1) advancing the child's level of advantage up to what justice requires or (2) instilling in the child morally required features. This is a (...)
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  35. Surrogate Motherhood.Christine Overall - 1987 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 17 (sup1):285-305.
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  36. Critical Race Parenting: Understanding Scholarship/Activism in Parenting Our Children.Christin DePouw & Cheryl Matias - 2016 - Educational Studies: A Jrnl of the American Educ. Studies Assoc 52 (3):237-259.
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  37. Új szülők, új gyermekek: Miképpen változtatja meg szülői felelősségünket a reprodukciós medicina.Gusztáv Kovács - 2014 - PPHF.
    The book discusses the development of reproductive medicine from the perspective of the parent-child relationship. -/- A könyv a reprodukciós medicina fejlődését vizsgálja a szülői felelősség szempontjából.
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  38. “Solidarity Between Generations” in the Family: Opportunities and Obstacles.Gusztáv KOVÁCS - 2012 - ET Studies 4 (2):341-348.
  39. Caring for Elder Parents: A Comparative Evaluation of Family Leave Laws.Y. Tony Yang & Gilbert Gimm - 2013 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 41 (2):501-513.
    The call for family and medical leave reform in the United States was largely the result of sweeping demographic shifts that occurred in the workforce after the 1950s, coupled with an ever-increasing life expectancy and changing social norms concerning the role of women as caretakers. By the early 1990s, the number of women in the workforce had nearly tripled from 1950. During that same period, life expectancy increased by six years for males and seven for females. Meanwhile, the first wave (...)
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  40. When the Home Becomes a Prison: Living with a Severely Disabled Child.B. S. Brinchmann - 1999 - Nursing Ethics 6 (2):137-143.
    The aim of this study was to generate knowledge about how parents who have been part of an ethical decision-making process concerning a son or daughter in a neonatal unit experience life with a severely disabled child. A descriptive study design was chosen using 30 hours of field observations and seven in-depth interviews, carried out over a period of five months with parents who had been faced with ethical decisions concerning their own children in a neonatal unit. Strauss and Glaser’s (...)
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  41. Parental Love and the Meaning of Life.Berit Brogaard - 2016 - In Leo Zaibert (ed.), The Theory and Practice of Ontology (festschrift for Barry Smith edited by Leo Zaibert.
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  42. Is There a Right to Parent?Anca Gheaus - 2015 - Law, Ethics and Philosophy.
    A short paper discussing the question of whether adults' interest in parenting can play a role in justifying the right to rear children.
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  43. The Contract in Surrogate Motherhood: A Review of the Issues. [REVIEW]Steven R. Gersz - 1984 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 12 (3):107-114.
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  44. Surrogate Motherhood as Prenatal Adoption.Bonnie Steinbock - 1988 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 16 (1-2):44-50.
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  45. Expectations for Function and Independence by Childhood Brain Tumors Survivors and Their Mothers.Matthew S. Lucas, Lamia P. Barakat, Nora L. Jones, Connie M. Ulrich & Janet A. Deatrick - 2014 - Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics 4 (3):233-251.
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  46. Multiplex Parenting: IVG and the Generations to Come.César Palacios-González, John Harris & Giuseppe Testa - 2014 - Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (11):752-758.
    Recent breakthroughs in stem cell differentiation and reprogramming suggest that functional human gametes could soon be created in vitro. While the ethical debate on the uses of in vitro generated gametes (IVG) was originally constrained by the fact that they could be derived only from embryonic stem cell lines, the advent of somatic cell reprogramming, with the possibility to easily derive human induced pluripotent stem cells from any individual, affords now a major leap in the feasibility of IVG derivation and (...)
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  47. Fatherhood - Philosophy for Everyone: The Dao of Daddy.Fritz Allhoff, Lon Nease & Michael W. Austin (eds.) - 2010 - Wiley-Blackwell.
    _Fatherhood - Philosophy for Everyone_ offers fathers wisdom and practical advice drawn from the annals of philosophy. Both thought-provoking and humorous, it provides a valuable starting and ending point for reflecting on this crucial role. Address the roles, experiences, ethics, and challenges of fatherhood from a philosophical perspective Includes essays on Confucius, Socrates, the experience of African fatherhood, and the perspective of two women writers Explores the changing role of fatherhood and investigates what it means to be a father An (...)
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  48. The Parental Love Argument Against 'Designing' Babies: The Harm in Knowing That One has Been Selected or Enhanced.Anca Gheaus - 2014 - In Ruth Chadwick, Mairi Levitt & Darren Shickle (eds.), The Right to Know and the Right Not to Know Genetic Privacy and Responsibility. Cambridge University Press. pp. 151-164.
    In this chapter, I argue that children who were selected for particular traits or genetically enhanced might feel, for this reason, less securely, spontaneously and fairly loved by their parents, which would constitute significant harm. ‘Parents’ refers, throughout this chapter, to the people who perform the social function of rearing children, rather than to procreators. I rely on an understanding of adequate parental love which includes several characteristics: parents should not make children feel they are loved conditionally, for features such (...)
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  49. A Cord of Three Strands: A New Approach to Parent Engagement in Schools.Soo Hong & Jean Anyon - 2011 - Harvard Education Press.
    How can low-income, non-English-speaking parents become advocates, leaders, and role models in their children’s schools? _A Cord of Three Strands_ offers a close study of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, a grassroots organization on the northwest side of Chicago, whose work on parent engagement has drawn national attention. The author identifies three elements—induction, integration, and investment—that together capture the dynamic and developmental nature of successful parent engagement. Writing with both optimism and urgency, author Soo Hong offers richly detailed portraits of (...)
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  50. The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Childhood and Children.Anca Gheaus, Gideon Calder & Jurgen De Wispelaere (eds.) - 2018 - Routledge.
    Childhood looms large in our understanding of human life as it is a phase through which all adults have passed. Childhood is foundational to the development of selfhood, the formation of interests, values and skills and to the lifespan as a whole. Understanding what it is like to be a child, and what differences childhood makes, are essential for any broader understanding of the human condition. The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Childhood and Children is an outstanding reference source (...)
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