In The Ethics of Parenthood NorvinRichards explores the moral relationship between parents and children from slightly before the cradle to slightly before the grave. Richards maintains that biological parents do ordinarily have a right to raise their children, not as a property right but as an instance of our general right to continue whatever we have begun. The contention is that creating a child is a first act of parenthood, hence it ordinarily carries a right to (...) continue as parent to that child. Implications are drawn for a wide range of cases, including those of Baby Jessica and Baby Richard, prenatal abandonment, babies switched at birth and sent home with the wrong parents, and families separated by war or natural disaster. A second contention is that children have a claim of their own to have their autonomy respected, and that this claim is stronger the better the grounds for believing that what the child's actions express is a self of the child's own. A final set of chapters concern parents and their grown children. Views are offered about what duties parents have at this stage of life, about what is required in order to treat grown children as adults, and about what obligations grown children have to their parents. In the final chapter Richards discusses the contention that parents sometimes have an obligation to die rather than permit their children to make the sacrifices needed to keep them alive, arguing that a leading view about this undervalues both love and autonomy. (shrink)
What would make it the right time for you to die, or the wrong one? In particular, could it be the right time for you to die even if your loved ones want to make the sacrifices needed to prolong your life, because that would cost them too dearly? The worry is that it would be selfish to permit these sacrifies, and wrong for that reason. I think it matters that the sacrifies would occur within a relationship of mutual devotion, (...) and I try to say how it matters. In particular, I argue against some fairly simple views of what constitutes impermissible selfishness in this context, and in favor of approaching such decisions in a different way. (shrink)
Prospective parents centainly ought to avoid creating a child whose life would be so terrible that no one should have to live it. However, those who sought to avoid it would risk making a serious moral error, if their reasoning did follow a certain pattern.The error would be failure to respect autonomy, which includes a claim to judge for oneself whether one's life is worth living. I explain how this applies to a decision about whether someone is to exist at (...) all, and what difference it would make if prospective parents paid autonomy the respect it merits. (shrink)
NorvinRichards, The Ethics of Parenthood Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s10677-011-9298-3 Authors Michael McFall, Department of Philosophy, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403, USA Journal Ethical Theory and Moral Practice Online ISSN 1572-8447 Print ISSN 1386-2820.