This paper addresses the issue of paternalism in child-rearing. Since the parent–child relationship seems to be the linguistic source of the concept, one may be tempted to assume that raising a child represents a particularly appropriate sphere for paternalism. The parent–child relationship is generally understood as a relationship that is supposed to promote the development and autonomy-formation of the child, so that the apparent source of the concept is a form of autonomy-oriented paternalism. Far from taking paternalism to be overtly (...) unproblematic in such paradigmatic, pedagogical settings, this article analyzes how an effort should be made to understand a child’s capacities and which standards parents should be held to when deciding whether interference truly serves the child’s interests. (shrink)
I characterize the main approaches to the moral consideration of children developed in the light of the argument from 'marginal' cases, and develop a more adequate strategy that provides guidance about the moral responsibilities adults have towards children. The first approach discounts the significance of children's potential and makes obligations to all children indirect, dependent upon interests others may have in children being treated well. The next approaches agree that the potential of children is morally considerable, but disagree as to (...) whether and why children with intellectual disabilities are morally considerable. These approaches explore the moral significance of intellectual capacities, species membership, the capacity for welfare, and the interests of others. I argue that relationships characterized by reciprocity of care are morally valuable, that both the potential to be in such relationships and the actuality of being in them are morally valuable, and that many children with significant intellectual disabilities have this potential. (shrink)
I argue that it is appropriate for adult recipients of personal care to feel and express gratitude whenever care providers are inspired partly by benevolence, and deliver a real benefit in a manner that conveys respect for the recipient. My focus on gratitude is consistent with important aspects of feminist ethics of care, including its attention to the particularities and vulnerabilities of caregivers and care recipients, and its concern with how relations of care are shaped by social hierarchies and public (...) institutions. In addition, it goes beyond the current preoccupations of care ethicists both by introducing gratitude as an important aspect of morally valuable relations of care and by stressing the significance of attending not only to the needs but also the capacities of recipients of care. (shrink)
The ensting literature on filial morality has an important gap. It explores responsibilities adult children have toward their elderly parents, and ignores questions about responsibilities of dependent children. Filling this gap involves specifying what competent and morally decent social parents can kgitimately expect from children. I argue that it is appropriate to expect and encourage young dependent children to demonstrate cooperation, mutuality, and trust, along with gratitude and reciprocity of value.
: I develop a model of love or care between children and their parents guided by experiences of parents, especially mothers, with disabilities. On this model, a caring relationship requires both parties to be aware of each other as a particular (not interchangeable) person and it requires reciprocity. This does not mean that children need to be able to articulate their interests, or that they need to be self-reflectively aware of their parents' interests or personhood. Instead, parents and children manifest (...) their understanding of one another as unique, irreplaceable individuals, with identifiable needs and interests through their interactions with one another. (shrink)
: Activist and political art works, particularly feminist ones, are frequently either dismissed for their illegitimate combination of the aesthetic and the political, or embraced as chiefly political works. Flawed conceptions of politics and the imagination are responsible for that dismissal. An understanding of the imagination is developed that allows us to see how political work and political explorations may inform the artistic imagination.
: Feminist artworks can be a resource in our attempt to understand individual identities as neither singular nor fixed, and in our related attempts both to theorize and to practice forms of connection to others that do not depend on shared identities. Engagement with these works has the potential to increase our critical social consciousness, making us more aware of oppression and privilege, and more committed to overcoming oppression.
I explore connections between social divisions and diversity within the self, while striving to differentiate internal diversity and multiplicity. When the person is understood as composite or multiple, she is seen as divided into several distinct agent-like aspects. This view is found in ancient, modern, and postmodern philosophy, psychology, poetry, and lay people's accounts of their experience. I argue for a conception of the self as diverse but not composite or multiple.