In this chapter, I discuss what perfectionism for children entails. In this context, perfectionism refers to the view that the state is empowered to promote people’s welfare by taking actions premised on a contested view of ethics. Whereas previous discussions have been focussed on individual achievements in fields like the arts or sport, I argue this rests on an implausibly narrow view of personal flourishing. In addition, I argue against the view that perfectionism should aim only, or mostly, at the promotion of autonomy. While critical thinking and self-reflection are often central to a good life, they are far from sufficient. Instead, promoting the welfare of children requires them to come to hold ethical beliefs conducive to their flourishing; they must hold a positive and plausible conception of the good.
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