David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Contemporary Philosophy 2004 (25):3&4 (2004)
While there are numerous questions that the having of children raise, there is one that philosophers should be particularly concerned with – “What is the good reason for the having of children?” Recently, Jeff Mitchell has given a deontological answer to this question (Contemporary Philosophy, Vol. XXIV, NO. 5 & 6, Sept/Oct & Nov/Dec 2002, pp. 42-46). His answer is based on the moral function of the having of children. He claims that parenthood is a “moral calling” and that one should heed the call out of a sense of duty and responsibility for the good of society (Mitchell, 44). In this paper, I argue that such a “moral calling” account is mistaken. I maintain that Mitchell’s account is mistaken on two grounds. First, I maintain Mitchell has assumed a problematic stance at the outset and it infects his position in general. That assumption is that we can and should consider the interests of non-existent people when considering the utility of an outcome. By looking at this assumption, we see that the warrant for such a moral reason to have children is lacking, hence, we ought not to appeal to such a reason when deciding whether to have children. The second problem is the failure to provide the epistemic conditions for a central consideration – the warranted belief that one would probably make a good parent. Furthermore, even if we attempt to construct what such conditions might be given other aspects of Mitchell’s account, the conditions fail to provide an adequate justification for the central consideration. Thus, I intend to show that such a moral calling rationale for the having of children is not superior to rationales that focus on the individual’s self-interest.
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Darcia Narvaez & Christyan Mitchell (1999). Book Review Essay, Parenting Good Children. [REVIEW] Journal of Moral Education 28 (3):387-394.
Shaun Nichols & T. Folds-Bennett (2003). Are Children Moral Objectivists? Children's Judgments About Moral and Response-Dependent Properties. Cognition 90 (2):23-32.
Julian Savulescu & Guy Kahane (2009). The Moral Obligation to Create Children with the Best Chance of the Best Life. Bioethics 23 (5):274-290.
Hye-Jeong Baek (2002). A Comparative Study of Moral Development of Korean and British Children. Journal of Moral Education 31 (4):373-391.
Sam Frankel (2012). Children, Morality and Society. Palgrave Macmillan.
Mianna Lotz (2009). Procreative Reasons-Relevance: On the Moral Significance of Why We Have Children. Bioethics 23 (5):291-299.
Amy Mullin (2011). Children and the Argument From 'Marginal' Cases. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (3):291-305.
David Archard & Colin M. Macleod (eds.) (2002). The Moral and Political Status of Children. OUP Oxford.
David Archard & Colin M. [eds] Macleod (eds.) (2002). The Moral and Political Status of Children. OUP Oxford.
James D. Marshall (1984). Punishment and Moral Education. Journal of Moral Education 13 (2):83-89.
Kimberly Strong, Ian Kerridge & Miles Little (2014). Savior Siblings, Parenting and the Moral Valorization of Children. Bioethics 28 (4):187-193.
Veronique Munoz-Dardé (2002). Family, Choice and Distributive Justice. In David Archard & Colin Macleod (eds.), The Moral and Political Status of Children. Oxford University Press.
Elizabeth Baird Saenger (2000). Exploring Ethics Through Children's Literature. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 14 (1):35-41.
David A. Shapiro (2000). Action Learning and Moral Philosophy with Children. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 14 (1):27-33.
Larry May & Hugh LaFollette (1995). Suffer the Little Children. In William Aiken & Hugh LaFollette (eds.), World Hunger and Morality. Prentice-Hall.
Added to index2011-06-08
Total downloads11 ( #135,392 of 1,099,048 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #58,097 of 1,099,048 )
How can I increase my downloads?