Duties to Aging Parents
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
"What do grown children owe their parents?" Over two decades ago philosopher Jane English asked this question and came up with the startling answer: nothing (English 1979). English joins many contemporary philosophers in rejecting the once-traditional view that grown children owe their parents some kind of fitting repayment for past services rendered. The problem with the traditional view, as argued by many, is, first, that parents have duties to provide fairly significant services to their growing children, and persons do not owe repayment for others' mere performance of duty; second, even where parents go above and beyond duty in their loving and generous rearing of their children, the benefits are bestowed, at least on young children, without their voluntary acceptance and consent, and so, again, fail to generate any obligation of subsequent repayment on their part (see Blustein 1982: 182-3). Moreover, the entire idiom of obligation and repayment, in English's 1 words, "tends to obscure, or even to undermine, the love that is the correct ground of filial obligation" (352). English's alternative, however -- that children strictly "owe" their parents nothing except what flows naturally from whatever love and affection exist between them -- also strikes many as problematic. Christina Hoff Sommers offers examples of what seem to be clearly delinquent adult children, who simply don't "feel" like sharing their lives with their aging parents, or providing any emotional or financial support to them, and so don't (Sommers 1986: 440-41). Sommers points out that we need some talk of obligations in order to fill in the cracks in human relationships where love and affection fail: "The ideal relationship cannot be 'duty-free,' if only because sentimental ties may come unraveled, often leaving one of the parties at a material disadvantage'" (450-51). Sommers proposes as her alternative to English that legitimate duties arise out of special relationships defined by social roles: being a father or mother, a son or a daughter, "is socially as well as biologically prescriptive; it not only defines what one is; it also defines who one is and what one owes" (447)..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
No categories specified
(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
Anders Schinkel (2012). Filial Obligations: A Contextual, Pluralist Model. [REVIEW] Journal of Ethics 16 (4):395-420.
Similar books and articles
Amy Mullin (2006). Parents and Children: An Alternative to Selfless and Unconditional Love. Hypatia 21 (1):181-200.
S. Matthew Liao (2006). The Right of Children to Be Loved. Journal of Political Philosophy 14 (4):420–440.
Nellie Wieland (2011). Parental Obligation. Utilitas 23 (03):249-267.
Morris Lipson & Peter Vallentyne (1991). Libertarianism, Autonomy, And Children. Public Affairs Quarterly 5 (4):333-352.
Doret Ruyter Leonie le Sagdee (2008). Criminal Parental Responsibility: Blaming Parents on the Basis of Their Duty to Control Versus Their Duty to Morally Educate Their Children. Educational Philosophy and Theory 40 (6):789-802.
Brynn F. Welch (2012). A Theory of Filial Obligations. Social Theory and Practice 38 (4):717-737.
Rona M. Gerber (1990). Gratitude and the Duties of Grown Children Towards Their Aging Parents. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 5 (1):29-34.
By Simon Keller (2006). Four Theories of Filial Duty. Philosophical Quarterly 56 (223):254–274.
Simon Keller (2006). Four Theories of Filial Duty. Philosophical Quarterly 56 (223):254 - 274.
Claudia Wiesemann (2009). Off-Label, Off-Limits? Parental Awareness and Attitudes Towards Off-Label Use in Paediatrics. European Journal of Pediatrics 168:1473-1478.
Joseph Millum (2008). How Do We Acquire Parental Responsibilities? Social Theory and Practice 34 (1):71-93.
Timothy F. Murphy (2009). Choosing Disabilities and Enhancements in Children: A Choice Too Far? Reproductie Biomedicine Online 2009 (18 sup. 1):43-49.
Added to index2010-12-22
Total downloads6 ( #203,782 of 1,101,181 )
Recent downloads (6 months)0
How can I increase my downloads?