Children's Vulnerability and Legitimate Authority Over Children

Journal of Applied Philosophy:60-75 (2018)
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Abstract

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 in the so-far little-discussed goods of engaging in world discovery, artistic creation, philosophical pursuits and experimentation with one's self. I call these ‘special goods of childhood’ because individuals, in general, only have full access to them during childhood and they make a distinctive and weighty contribution to wellbeing. Therefore, they are part of the metric of justice towards children. The overall conclusion is that we ought to make good institutional care part of every child's upbringing.

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Author's Profile

Anca Gheaus
Central European University

References found in this work

Why Childhood is Bad for Children.Sarah Hannan - 2017 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 35 (S1):11-28.
The Philosophy of Childhood.Gareth B. Matthews - 1997 - Philosophical Quarterly 47 (186):125-127.
The Roots of Philosophy.John White - 1992 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 33:73-88.

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