Liberalism, Childhood and JusticeEthical Issues in Upbringing

Liberalism, Childhood and JusticeEthical Issues in Upbringing

Tim Fowler

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9781529201635

Publisher: Policy Press


The book develops a novel theory of children’s place in liberal theory. It argues that justice requires promoting children’s wellbeing, not merely their fair access to resources. I argue that one important driver of children’s wellbeing is the ethical doctrines held by others in their society, as such a just society requires a culture that is conducive to children’s current and later flourishing. I outline a conception of children’s interests rooted in their ability to develop their talents, and in their current and future relationships with their family and wider community. I then apply this theory to the morality of parenting, and to two important distributive questions, school funding and parental subsidies. I argue that parents have important moral rights over their children, but that these rights are considerably more circumscribed than is often believed. I suggest that children’s deepest interests are furthered by equality of opportunity, and that the importance of parenting implies that states should transfer resources to families.