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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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Beyond Parents: Collective Duties to Children

Beyond Parents: Collective Duties to Children

(p.135) 12 Beyond Parents: Collective Duties to Children
Liberalism, Childhood and Justice

Timothy Fowler

Timothy Fowler

Policy Press

In this chapter, I consider duties non-parents might have to children. I consider empirical evidence which suggests that parents matter less for children than is commonly assumed, and that other members of society matter more. I suggest that this influence on children generates duties to the children that are similar- albeit weaker- to those of parents. All members of society are responsible for the content of children’s character and this impact brings duties to ensure society is not harmful to the child. Further, the intertwined nature of children’s lives means that special duties to one child transfer to others. The implication is that the perfectionist duties explored in chapter 11 apply not just to parents but to all citizens, who have a moral duty to change their conduct in ways that will further the wellbeing of children.

Keywords:   Justice and non-parents, causal theory of parenting, importance of parenting

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