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Liberalism, Childhood and JusticeEthical Issues in Upbringing$
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Tim Fowler

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781529201635

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529201635.001.0001

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Welfare across the Lifespan

Welfare across the Lifespan

(p.31) 4 Welfare across the Lifespan
Liberalism, Childhood and Justice

Timothy Fowler

Timothy Fowler

Policy Press

This chapter considers how welfare or advantage ought to be distributed within a single lifespan, rather than between lives. A possibility is that people can make up for a bad childhood via compensating factors in adulthood, and thus there is no need to prioritise the interests of children. Through a consideration of what are termed ‘the intrinsic goods of childhood’ I make the argument that there is a basic case for seeing the start of a person’s life as the most important life stage, because gains in childhood are by their nature longer lasting and likely to lead to further advantages later in life. This provides a powerful, though potentially outweighed, reason for thinking that justice requires devoting more attention and resources to children than is recognised by most accounts.

Keywords:   Intrinsic goods of childhood, Shape of life thesis, flourishing

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