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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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Distributing Parental Duties

Distributing Parental Duties

(p.111) 10 Distributing Parental Duties
Liberalism, Childhood and Justice

Timothy Fowler

Timothy Fowler

Policy Press

In this chapter, I consider the special duties that some adults have to children and defend what is known as the causal theory. According to this account, people come to have duties to children because they create them in a needy state, and effectively make profound choices on behalf of their children. I show why this view is preferable to both the voluntariness view – according to which people can only have special duties when they agree to them – and to the social conventions account – which suggests that special duties are whatever the social conventions state them to be. Finally, I show how the causal view can dodge the problem of assigning too many people as the relevant causes of children, and thus as that child’s parents.

Keywords:   Causal view of parenthood, Genetic justice, absent fathers

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