Taking Responsibility for Children
Publication Year: 2007
What do we as a society, and as parents in particular, owe to our children? Each chapter in Taking Responsibility for Children offers part of an answer to that question. Although they vary in the approaches they take and the conclusions they draw, each contributor explores some aspect of the moral obligations owed to children by their caregivers. Some focus primarily on the responsibilities of parents, while others focus on the responsibilities of society and government.
The essays reflect a mix of concern with the practical and the philosophical aspects of taking responsibility for children, addressing such topics as parental obligations, the rights and entitlements of children, the responsibility of the state, the role and nature of public education in a liberal society, the best ways to ensure adequate child protection, the licensing of parents, children’s religious education, and children’s health. Taking Responsibility for Children will be of interest to philosophers, advocates for children’s interests, and those interested in public policy, especially as it relates to children and families.
Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
This book has been published with the help of a grant from the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, through the Aid to Scholarly Publications Program, using funds provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. We are grateful for this support. We are also grateful for the support of the Social Sciences and...
INTRODUCTION: Taking Responsibility for Children
Children raise many questions. Some they raise themselves: "Mummy, why does the sun shine?" "Daddy, where does the rain come from?" Less direct, but surely just as important are the questions that arise not from children directly, but from the fact that no instruction book accompanies them to tell us how best to meet their needs and to prepare them...
ONE: Raising Children: Who Is Responsible for What?
Considerations of prudence and justice provide us with reasons to be concerned with the way children are raised. From a prudential point of view, it makes sense to ensure that children are raised to be self-reliant, productive members of society who can contribute to mutually beneficial forms of co-operation and interaction, and who are disposed to respect the rights...
TWO: Parental Responsibility
In what way, and why, are parents "responsible for" their children? What makes this an interesting question is that the parental relation is both ubiquitous--- we all have parents---and unique in that, unlike any other relations to people, parents actually bring children into existence. In one obvious sense, then, they are responsible for their children by virtue of being...
THREE: Children, Caregivers, Friends
This essay will compare friendships between morally competent adults with relations between young children and their caregivers. By "young children," I mean those of preschool age. My arguments are positioned with respect to a debate within feminist theory over the relevance of the mothering relation for thinking about the ethical nature of other...
FOUR: Parent Licensing and the Protection of Children
In 2005, the United States Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families published its 2003 report on child maltreatment. According to that report there were 2.9 million referrals concerning the suspected abuse or maltreatment of approximately 5.5 million children. Of these suspected abuse reports, 1.9 million...
FIVE: Responsibility and Children's Rights: The Case for Restricting Parental Smoking
This chapter has two parts, the first conceptual and the second applied. The conceptual focus of the chapter outlines the nature and content of the responsibilities that adult members of a society have toward children. The subsequent applied part of the chapter looks at the issues of responsibility for children in the context of parental smoking. We are interested in...
SIX: Political Liberalism and Moral Education: Reflections on Mozert v. Hawkins
The issue of moral education has important implications for our understanding of the parent-child relationship and the child-state relationship. Our conception of moral education should help to elucidate the appropriate division of authority over children between parents and the state. Of course, few authors argue that either party should be granted complete...
SEVEN: Education in a Liberal Society: Implications of Ross
In this chapter, I examine Ross v. New Brunswick School District No. 15,1 a 1996 Supreme Court of Canada decision involving the education of children. In Ross, the Supreme Court weighed in on a debate now raging in the philosophical literature. In the past ten years, Ethics has devoted a special issue to a "Symposium on Citizenship, Democracy, and Education...
EIGHT: Could There Be a Right Not to Be Born an Octuplet?
Twice in the last few years the bioethics sensation of the week has been the arrival of high-order multiple births (or "supertwins"), first the McCaughey septuplets in Des Moines, Iowa, then the Chukwu octuplets in Houston, Texas. The media commentary on the cases tended to focus, as usual, on short-term issues---the need for hundreds...
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS