In LicensingParents, Michael McFall argues that political structures, economics, education, racism, and sexism are secondary in importance to the inequality caused by families, and that the family plays the primary role in a child's acquisition of a sense of justice. He demonstrates that examination of the family is necessary in political philosophy and that informal structures (families) and considerations (character formation) must be taken seriously. McFall advocates a threshold that should be accepted by all political philosophers: children (...) should not be severely abused or neglected because child maltreatment often causes deep and irreparable individual and societal harm. The implications of this threshold are revolutionary, but this is not recognized fully because no philosophical book has systematically considered the ethical or political ramifications of child maltreatment. -/- By exposing a tension between the rights of children and adults, McFall reveals pervasive ageism; parental rights usually trump children's rights, and this is often justified because children are not fully autonomous. Yet parental rights should not always trump children's rights. Ethics and political philosophy are not only about rights, but also about duties--especially when considering potential parents who are unable or unwilling to provide minimally decent nurturance. While contemporary political philosophy focuses on adult rights, McFall examines systems whereby the interests and rights of children and parents are better balanced. This entails exploring when parental rights are defeasible and defending the ethics of licensingparents, whereby some people are precluded from rearing children. He argues that, if a sense of justice is largely developed in childhood, parents directly influence the character of future generations of adults in political society. A completely stable and well-ordered society needs stable and psychologically healthy citizens in addition to just laws, and McFall demonstrates how parental love and healthy families can help achieve this. (shrink)
In this essay I shall argue that the state should require all parents to be licensed. My main goal is to demonstrate that the licensing of parents is theoretically desirable, though I shall also argue that a workable and just licensing program actually could be established.
Although systems for licensing professionals are far from perfect, and their problems and costs should not be ignored, they are justified as a necessary means of protecting innocent people's vital interests. Licensing defends patients from inept doctors, pharmacists, and physical therapists; it protects clients from unqualified lawyers. We should protect people who are highly vulnerable to those who are supposed to serve them, those with whom they have a special relationship. Requiring professionals to be licensed is the most (...) plausible way of doing that. Given the overwhelming support for the licensing of these professionals, I find it odd that so many people categorically reject proposals to license parents. Although the relationship between a parent and her children is different in some respects, it is also relevantly similar to that between a professional and those she serves. To defend these claims, I show how and why the rationale for licensingparents parallels the rational for licensing professionals. I then ask whether such a program could be justifiably implemented. Finally, I describe and reject what I see as the flawed view of the relationship between parents and their children. (shrink)
In this paper we re-examine Hugh LaFollette's proposal that the state carefully determine the eligibility and suitability of prospective parents before granting them a ?license to parent?. Assuming a prima facie case for licensingparents grounded in our duty to promote the welfare of the child, we offer several considerations that complicate LaFollette's radical proposal. We suggest that LaFollette can only escape these problems by revising his proposal in a way that renders the license effectively obsolete, a (...) route he implicitly adopts in his recent revisiting of the licensing proposal. We conclude that there is little merit in the idea of licensing ?natural? parents as a practical policy proposal, and raise some questions about its continued use in relation to adoptive and foster parents. (shrink)
The status quo on parental licensing in most Western jurisdictions is that licensing is required in the case of adoption but not in the case of assisted or unassisted biological reproduction. To have a child via adoption, one must fulfill licensing requirements, which, beyond the usual home study, can include mandatory participation in parenting classes. One is exempt from these requirements, however, if one has a child via biological reproduction, including assisted reproduction involving donor gametes or a (...) contract pregnancy. In an earlier paper, we challenged this system of parental licensing by showing that arguments in favour of it do not succeed. One argument we failed to consider, however, is that prospective biological parents have a right to reproduce that protects them against the sort of state interference that is involved in parental licensing. According to this argument, because prospective adoptive parents do not exercise a similar right when attempting to become parents, they are not similarly protected. In this paper, we argue that this reproductive rights argument, like other arguments in favour of the status quo on parental licensing, is flawed. We also question whether people in fact have a right to reproduce, and in doing so distinguish this right from others that we think are legitimate, including a right to become a parent and a right to bodily autonomy. (shrink)
The process of adopting a child is “not for the faint of heart.” This is what we were told the first time we, as a couple, began this process. Part of the challenge lies in fulfilling the licensing requirements for adoption, which, beyond the usual home study, can include mandatory participation in parenting classes. The question naturally arises for many people who are subjected to these requirements whether they are morally justified. We tackle this question in this paper. In (...) our view, while strong reasons exist in favour of licensing adoptive parents, these reasons support the licensing not only of adoptive parents, but of all or some subset of so-called “natural” parents as well. We therefore conclude that the status quo with respect to parental licensing, according to which only adoptive parents need to be licensed, is morally unjustified. (shrink)
Frank Jackson has put forward a famous thought experiment of a physician who has to decide on the correct treatment for her patient. Subjective consequentialism tells the physician to do what intuitively seems to be the right action, whereas objective consequentialism fails to guide the physician’s action. I suppose that objective consequentialists want to supplement their theory so that it guides the physician’s action towards what intuitively seems to be the right treatment. Since this treatment is wrong according to objective (...) consequentialism, objective consequentialists have to license it without calling it right. I consider eight strategies to spell out the idea of licensing the intuitively right treatment and argue that objective consequentialism is on the horns of what I call the licensing dilemma : Either the physician’s action is not guided towards the intuitively right treatment. Or the guidance towards the intuitively right treatment is ad hoc in some respect or the other. (shrink)
The ethics of advertising to children has been identified as one of the most important topics worthy of academic research in the marketing field. A fast growing advertising technique is product placement, and its use in children's films is becoming more and more common. The limited evidence existing suggests that product placements are especially potent in their effects upon children. Yet regulations regarding placements targeted at children are virtually non-existent, with advertising guidelines suggesting that it remains the prime responsibility of (...) the parents to provide guidance for children. This study measured the ethical evaluations of parents in the UK and Canada regarding product placements in children's films. After exposing parents to a four-type typology of product placements, results show that explicit placements of ethically charged products were perceived as the most unethical type of placements. Parents in the UK were more sensitive to the use of the technique and there was a significant difference in relativism between the two groups. Both sets of respondents would like to see more regulation on the use of placements, especially placements of alcohol, tobacco and fast foods. (shrink)
In the Netherlands fertility doctors increasingly formulate protocols, which oblige patients to quit their unhealthy lifestyle before they are admitted to IVF procedures. We argue that moral arguments could justify parenting protocols that concern all future parents. In the first part we argue that want-to-be parents have moral responsibilities towards their future children to prevent them from harm by diminishing or eliminating risk factors before as well as during the pregnancy. This is because of the future children's potential (...) to become of a certain type, more specifically: a person that will be the want-to-be parents' child. Want-to-be parents intend to become pregnant and therefore have an additional moral reason to diminish the risks. Also, people who become pregnant unintentionally have the responsibility to prevent their children from harm, unless they become pregnant due to contraception failure. All people not wanting to become pregnant should use contraception methods carefully.In the second part of this paper we translate the want-to-be parents' responsibilities into practice. We distinguish four determinants of risk factors: modifiability, chance, severity and effort. We examine some evidence-based risk factors based on these variables and deduce levels of responsibility.In conclusion, formulating informal requirements for want-to-be parents is morally required and therefore also for want-to-be parents in need of medical assistance. The protocols developed by fertility doctors in the Netherlands could be seen as the precursor for a general, informal Parenting Protocol that could be developed on the basis of an extended and thoroughly debated risk-responsibility analysis. (shrink)
This paper uses a partially ordered set of syntactic categories to accommodate optionality and licensing in natural language syntax. A complex but well-studied data set pertaining to the syntax of quantifier scope and negative polarity licensing in Hungarian is used to illustrate the proposal. The presentation is geared towards both linguists and logicians. The paper highlights that the main ideas can be implemented in different grammar formalisms, and discusses in detail an implementation where the partial ordering on categories (...) is given by the derivability relation of a calculus with residuated and Galois-connected unary operators. (shrink)
Guerzoni and Sharvit (Linguistics and Philosophy 30:361–391, 2007) provide an argument that plural, but not singular, wh-phrases may contain a negative polarity item in their restriction, and connect this with the semantic property of exhaustivity. I will show that this claim is factually incorrect, and that the theory of negative polarity licensing does not need to be complicated by taking number distinctions into account. In addition, I will argue that number distinctions do not appear to be relevant for polarity (...) items in the restriction of definite noun phrases either. (shrink)
Legitimate parental interests need to be distinguished from any putative rights parents qua parents may be said to possess. Parents have no right to insulate their children from conceptions of the good at variance with those of their own. Claims to the right to faith schools, private schools, home-schooling or to withdraw a child from any aspect of the curriculum designed to enhance a child’s capacity for autonomous decision-making, are refuted.
The ethics research community has all but ignored issues of oversight ethics – the vices and virtues of overseers. This study develops a conceptual framework for exploring the ethics of oversight and provides insights into the design of codes of ethics for oversight institutions and for overseers. Analysis of business licensing in Israel reveals prospective and retrospective oversight ethics problems at the levels of national and local policy and implementation: Overseers failed to act on knowledge of breaches of business (...)licensing stipulations and took action known to be slow and ineffective; policymakers neglected their duty to enact significant policy change in an oversight system that was clearly not working. Partially as a result of these oversight failures, over one third of Israeli businesses are unlicensed, 23 people were killed in the collapse of an unlicensed banquet hall, 2 major fires erupted in the same shopping mall, and a fire in a fertilizer warehouse very nearly became a mega-disaster. (shrink)
The uncertainties associated with the precise nature of legalization regimes and with their expected outcomes sometimes are used to justify the maintenance of drug prohibition. This paper details the role that buyer licensing and exclusion might play in implementing a low-risk, post-prohibition drug regulatory regime. Buyer licensing and exclusion provide assistance to those who exhibit or are worried about self-control problems with drugs, while not being significantly constraining upon those who are informed and satisfied drug consumers. Relative to (...) prohibition, licensing and self-exclusion can be part of a drug regulatory structure that is much more finely tuned to the risks of harms stemming from drug use. (shrink)
Pediatric oncology has a strong research culture. Most pediatric oncologists are investigators, involved in clinical care as well as research. As a result, a remarkable proportion of children with cancer enrolls in a trial during treatment. This paper discusses the ethical consequences of the unprecedented integration of research and care in pediatric oncology from the perspective of parents and physicians.
The infant's first natural response when faced with opposition or when he opposes others' actions is to cry. As this kind of behavior becomes ineffective, the responses of the individuals with which he interacts force him to adopt more conventional — especially verbal — patterns of arguing, leading him to rational argumentation. The purpose of the present paper is to observe progressions in children's earliest verbal arguments and to see how and when they learn to adjust their strategies for different (...) kinds of opponents (peers; parents; other adults). In order to examine the emergence of such persuasive strategies, and their distribution according to the different categories of opponents, systematic audiotape recordings of two Spanish-speaking girls between 2 and 3 years were analyzed. The data suggest that, although there were some differences in how the girls argued with parents versus peers, they were only beginning to adjust their speech to make it appropriate for one or the other type of listener. In general, they resorted to one dominant strategy for all listeners (insist, repeat, cry, scream, ...). Each girl, however, developed a small number of less frequently used strategies that she reserved for a subcategory of opponents. For example, one of them, Nancy, only threatened and insulted peers, while the other, Marisa, only used “please” and a temporizing strategy with parents. The girls used less adaptive, more agressive strategies (e.g. threats and insults) with their peers. With one exception, all of the girls' moves were self-centered. In fact, the girls had not yet reached the stage of rational argumentation. (shrink)
A continuing need for care for elderly, combined with looser family structures prompt the question what filial obligations are. Do adult children of elderly have a duty to care? Several theories of filial obligation are reviewed. The reciprocity argument is not sensitive to the parent–child relationship after childhood. A theory of friendship does not offer a correct parallel for the relationship between adult child and elderly parent. Arguments based on need or vulnerability run the risk of being unjust to those (...) on whom a needs-based claim is laid. To compare filial obligations with promises makes too much of parents’ expectations, however reasonable they may be. The good of being in an unchosen relationship seems the best basis for filial obligations, with an according duty to maintain the relationship when possible. We suggest this relationship should be maintained even if one of the parties is no longer capable of consciously contributing to it. We argue that this entails a duty to care about one’s parents, not for one’s parents. This implies that care for the elderly is not in the first place a task for adult children. (shrink)
‘Only’ associates with focus and licenses NPIs. This paper looks at the distributional pattern of NPIs under ‘only’ and presents evidence for the movement theory of focus association and against an in situ approach. NPIs are licensed in the ‘scope’ (or the second argument) of ‘only’, but not in the complement (or its first argument), which I will call the ‘syntactic restrictor’. While earlier approaches argued that ‘only’ licenses NPIs in the unfocused part of the sentence it occurs in except (...) in its focus, evidence from DP-‘only’ shows that NPIs are also not licensed in the unfocused part of the syntactic restrictor. The distribution of NPIs provides a test for the size of the syntactic restrictor, and this test is applied to the case of VP-‘only’. The evidence shows that (i) the restrictor can be smaller than the entire VP and is not necessarily identical to the surface complement of ‘only’; (ii) in the case of association with a head the restrictor comprises an XP containing the head; and (iii) in cases of association into an island, the restrictor comprises the entire island. Generalizations (i)–(iii) can be captured straightforwardly by a movement approach but are incompatible with an in situ analysis. Contextual domain- restriction of the kind used in in situ approaches accounts for the appropriate semantics in cases where the semantic focus is properly contained in the syntactic restrictor of ‘only’. (shrink)
Introduction -- Value theory : the nature of the good life -- Epicurus letter to Menoeceus -- John Stuart Mill, Hedonism -- Aldous Huxley, Brave new world -- Robert Nozick, The experience machine -- Richard Taylor, The meaning of life -- Jean Kazez, Necessities -- Normative ethics : theories of right conduct -- J.J.C. Smart, Eextreme and restricted utilitarianism -- Immanuel Kant the good will & the categorical imperative -- Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan -- Philippa Foot, Natural goodness -- Aristotle, Nicomachean (...) ethics -- W.D. Ross, What makes right acts right? -- Hilde Lindemann, What is feminist ethics? -- Metaethics : the status of morality -- David Hume, Moral distinctions not derived from reason -- J.L. Mackie, The subjectivity of values -- Gilbert Harman, Ethics and observation -- Mary Midgley, Trying out one's new sword -- Michael Smith, Rrealism -- Renford Bambrough, Pproof -- Moral problems -- Peter Singe, The Singer solution to world poverty -- Heidi Malm, Paid surrogacy: arguments and responses -- Ronald Dworkin, Playing God : genes, clones, and luck -- James Rachels, The morality of euthanasia -- John Harris, The survival lottery -- Peter Singer, Unsanctifying human life -- William F. Baxter, People or penguins : the case for optimal pollution -- Judith Jarvis, Tthomson a defense of abortion -- Don Marquis, Why abortion is immoral -- Jonathan Bennett, The conscience of Huckleberry Finn -- Michael Walzer, Terrorism : a critique of excuses -- David Luban, Liberalism, torture, and the ticking bomb -- Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham City Jail -- Igor Primoratz, Justifying legal punishment -- Stephen Nathanson, An eye for an eye -- Michael Huemer, America's unjust drug war -- John Corvino, Why shouldn't Tommy and Jimmy have sex? : a defense of homosexuality -- Bonnie Steinbock, Adultery -- Hugh Lafollette, Licensingparents -- Jane English, What do grown children owe their parents? (shrink)
New parents suddenly come face to face with myriad issues that demand careful attention but appear in a context unlikely to provide opportunities for extended or clear-headed critical reflection, whether at home with a new baby or in the neonatal intensive care unit. As such, their capacity for autonomy may be compromised. Attending to new parental autonomy as an extension of reproductive autonomy, and as a complicated phenomenon in its own right rather than simply as a matter to be (...) balanced against other autonomy rights, can help us to see how new parents might be aided in their quest for competency and good decision making. In this paper I show how a relational view of autonomy – attentive to the coercive effects of oppressive social norms and to the importance of developing autonomy competency, especially as related to self-trust – can improve our understanding of the situation of new parents and signal ways to cultivate and to better respect their autonomy. (shrink)
This article analyses the laws that govern the allocation of parental responsibility for children conceived through non-coital reproduction by lesbians and gay men in England/Wales and Australia. In 2008 both jurisdictions introduced important reforms affecting this area of law, providing new options for the legal recognition of parent–child relationships in lesbian and gay households. However, the practical usefulness or effectiveness of the reforms may be limited by the excessive complexity or obscurity of the system of parental responsibility thus introduced. Furthermore, (...) the reform Acts encourage the formation of some family structures—especially homonuclear families—while discouraging the emergence of more imaginative and cooperative parenting configurations at odds with heteronormative parenting scripts. Only through a clearer commitment to intentionality as a ground for the allocation of parental responsibility will future reform be likely to adequately protect the interests of lesbian and gay parents and their children. (shrink)
A liberal antinomy of parenting exists: strong liberal intuitions militate in favor of both denying special resources to parenting projects (on grounds of project-neutrality) and granting them (on grounds of respect for personhood). I show that we can reconcile these two claims by rejecting a premise common to both--viz. that liberalism is necessarily committed to extensive procreative liberties--and limiting procreation and subsequent parenting to adults who meet certain psychological and especially financial criteria. I also defend this argument, which provides a (...) Kantian complement to utilitarian arguments for restricting procreation, against a variety of objections. (shrink)
The children’s market has become significantly more important to marketers in recent years. They have been spending increasing amounts on advertising, particularly of food and beverages, to reach this segment. At the same time, there is a critical debate among parents, government agencies, and industry experts as to the ethics of food advertising practices aimed toward children. The␣present study examines parents’ ethical views of food advertising targeting children. Findings indicate that parents’ beliefs concerning at least some dimensions (...) of moral intensity are significantly related to their ethical judgments and behavioral intentions of food advertising targeting children as well as the perceived moral intensity of the situation. (shrink)
This paper provides an answer to the question why birth parents have a moral right to keep and raise their biological babies. I start with a critical discussion of the parent-centred model of justifying parents’ rights, recently proposed by Harry Brighouse and Adam Swift. Their account successfully defends a fundamental moral right to parent in general but, because it does not provide an account of how individuals acquire the right to parent a particular baby, it is insufficient for (...) addressing the question whether and why there is a right to parent one’s biological child. Such a right is important because, in its absence, fairness towards adequate prospective parents who are involuntarily childless would demand a ‘babies redistribution’; moreover, in societies with entrenched histories of injustice there may be reasons of fairness for shuffling babies amongst all recent parents. I supplement the Brighouse-Swift account of fundamental parental rights by an account of how adequate parents acquire the right to parent their biological babies. I advance two arguments to this conclusion: by the time of birth, the birth parents will have already shouldered various burdens in order to bring children into existence, and are likely to have formed an intimate relationship with the future baby. Denying birth parents who would make at least adequate parents the right to keep their baby would be unfair to them and would destroy already formed parent-baby relationships which, I assume, are intrinsically valuable. (shrink)
Since the 1980s in the US and the 1990s in Europe, patenting and licensing activities by universities have massively increased. This is strongly encouraged by governments throughout the Western world. Many regard academic patenting as essential to achieve ‘knowledge transfer’ from academia to industry. This trend has far-reaching consequences for access to the fruits of academic research and so the question arises whether the current policies are indeed promoting innovation or whether they are instead a symptom of a pro-intellectual (...) property (IP) culture which is blind to adverse effects. Addressing this question requires both empirical analysis (how real is the link between academic patenting and licensing and ‘development’ of academic research by industry?) and normative assessment (which justifications are given for the current policies and to what extent do they threaten important academic values?). After illustrating the major rise of academic patenting and licensing in the US and Europe and commenting on the increasing trend of ‘upstream’ patenting and the focus on exclusive as opposed to non-exclusive licences, this paper will discuss five negative effects of these trends. Subsequently, the question as to why policymakers seem to ignore these adverse effects will be addressed. Finally, a number of proposals for improving university policies will be made. (shrink)
Several states in the United States of America and countries in Europe punish parents when their minor child commits a crime. When parents are being punished for the crimes committed by their children, it should be presumed that parents might be held responsible for the deeds of their children. This article addresses the question whether or not this presumption can be sustained. We argue that parents can be blamed for the crimes of their children, not because (...) they have the duty to control their children as is often maintained, but because they have the duty to assist their child to develop in such a way that s/he becomes a morally competent agent. (shrink)
: 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, (...) class='Hi'>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)
My interest in this essay is an advance in the use of pragmatics to explain what were considered to be syntactical or semantical phenomena. The case in question is the explanation of the licensing of Negative Polarity Items. The data are not sentence-types but rather utterance-types and utterance-tokens. The explanatory concepts are the distinctions between assertions and non-assertions, between sentence-meanings and speaker’s meanings. I shall examine the most ingenious example of such a pragmatic theory that I know and ask (...) whether the arguments that have so far been used in its support are adequate to their task. The doubts that I raise do not show that the pragmatic theory cannot succeed, but they suggest that other theoretical constructions will be necessary for the proper defense of a pragmatic theory. (shrink)
The use of Ritalin and other stimulant drug treatments for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) raises distinctive moral dilemmas for parents; these moral dilemmas have not been adequately addressed in the bioethics literature. This paper draws upon data from a qualitative empirical study to investigate parents' use of the moral ideal of authenticity as part of their narrative justifications for dosing decisions and actions. I show that therapeutic decisions and actions are embedded in valued cultural ideals about masculinity, self-actualization (...) and success, as well as in moral conceptions of authenticity and personal freedom. I argue that this investigation of parents' moral justifications and dosing dilemmas raises questions about the validity of authenticity as a transcendent moral principle. Moreover, this study demonstrates that in order to be relevant, bioethical analysis of neurocognitive enhancement must engage with ground-up studies of moral principles and decision-making in context. (shrink)
This article provides a social domain theory analysis of the role of parents in moral development. Social knowledge domains, including morality as distinct from other social concepts, are described. Then, it is proposed that, although morality is constructed from reciprocal social interactions, both affective and cognitive components of parents' interactions with their children may facilitate children's moral development. The affective context of the relationship may influence children's motivation to listen to and respond to parents; in addition, affect (...) associated with responses to transgressions can affect children's encoding and remembering of those events. Although moral interactions occur frequently in peer contexts, parents' domain-specific feedback about the nature of children's moral interactions are proposed to provide a cognitive mechanism for facilitating moral development. Parents promote children's moral understanding by providing domain appropriate and developmentally sensitive reasoning and explanations about the child's social world, which may stimulate the development of more mature moral thought. Various findings from the socialisation literature are presented and interpreted from within the social domain framework. (shrink)
Abstract About 2 million minor children in the U.S. have at least one parent incarcerated for criminal offenses. There are about 33,000 undocumented persons detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in jails and federal detention centers around the country, and 79% of the minor children of these detainees are U.S. citizens. There are few government programs that measure and respond to the harm caused to these children by the incarceration and detention of their parents, and the negative effects on (...) these children are largely ignored in public policy debates about incarceration and immigration detention. I argue that we have an obligation to these children based on (1) the special status of children, (2) the harm caused to children by the arrest, detention and incarceration of their parents, (3) current incarceration and detention policies even in the presence of alternatives that would, on balance, create less harm. (shrink)
In this article, we explore to what extent parents should be ?educators? of their children. In the course of this exploration, we offer some examples of these practices and ways of speaking and thinking, indicate some of the problems and limitations they import into our understanding of the parent?child relationship, and make some tentative suggestions towards an alternative way of thinking about this relationship.
This paper discusses whether prospectiveparents ought to find out about their geneticconstitution for reproductive reasons. It isargued that ignoring genetic information can bein line with responsible parenthood or perhapseven recommendable. This is because parenthoodis essentially an unconditional project inwhich parents ought to commit themselves tonurturing any kind of child. Besides, thetraditional reasons offered for theunfortunateness of impairments and the tragicfate of families with disabled children are notconvincing. Other morally problematic outcomesof genetics, such as discrimination againstindividuals with impairments, and limiting (...) freeparental decision making, are alsoconsidered. (shrink)
Although research indicates that single parenting is not by itself worse for children than their being brought up by both their parents, there are reasons why it is better for children to have more than one committed parent. If having two committed parents is better, everything else being equal, than having just one, I argue that it might be even better for children to have three committed parents. There might, in addition, be further reasons why allowing triparenting (...) would benefit children and adults, at least in some cases. Whether or not triparenting is on the whole preferable to bi- or monoparenting, it does have certain advantages (as well as shortcomings) which, at the very least, warrant its inclusion in debates over the sorts of family structures we should allow in our societies, and how many people should be accepted in them. This paper has the modest aim of scratching the surface of this wider topic by challenging the necessity of the max-two-parents framework. (shrink)
This paper examines parents experiences of medical decision-making and coping with having a critically ill baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) from a cross-cultural perspective (France vs. U.S.A.). Though parents experiences in the NICU were very similar despite cultural and institutional differences, each system addresses their needs in a different way. Interviews with parents show that French parents expressed overall higher satisfaction with the care of their babies and were better able to cope with (...) the loss of their child than American parents. Central to the French parents perception of autonomy and their sense of satisfaction were the strong doctor–patient relationship, the emphasis on medical certainty in prognosis versus uncertainty in the American context, and the sentimental work" provided by the team. The American setting, characterized by respect for parental autonomy, did not necessarily translate into full parental involvement in decision-making, and it limited the rapport between doctors and parents to the extent of parental isolation. This empirical comparative approach fosters a much-needed critique of philosophical principles by underscoring, from the parents perspective, the lack of emotional work" involved in the practice of autonomy in the American unit compared to the paternalistic European context. Beyond theoretical and ethical arguments, we must reconsider the practice of autonomy in particularly stressful situations by providing more specific means to cope, translating the impersonal language of rights" and decision-making into trusting, caring relationships, and sharing the responsibility for making tragic choices. (shrink)
Software is much more than sequences of instructions for a computing machine: it can be an enabler (or disabler) of political imperatives and policies. Hence, it is subject to the same assessment in a normative dimension as other political and social phenomena. The core distinction between free software and its proprietary counterpart is that free software makes available to its user the knowledge and innovation contributed by the creator(s) of the software, in the form of the created source code. From (...) an ethical perspective, one of the most pressing questions raised by this form of collaboration is the question of the rights, and the restrictions on them, that are passed on to users and collaborators by the creators of programs. That is, what freedoms do software users deserve, and how can they best be protected? In this study we analyze free software licensing schemes in order to determine which most effectively protects such freedoms. We conclude that so-called copyleft licensing schemes are the morally superior alternative. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to unveil the incompleteness of John Harris' view that parents have a moral obligation to genetically enhance their unborn children. Specifically, here two main conclusions are proposed: (1) at present there exist insufficient empirical data for determining whether prenatal genetic enhancement (PGE) is a moral obligation on prospective parents. Although the purpose of PGE research would be to determine the extent to which PGE is safe and effective, the task of determining the (...) veracity of Harris' premises is impossible to achieve without begging the question; we would be forced to assume the moral permissibility of PGE in order to generate the data that are required for determining its moral standing. So, given this empirical blindness, consequence-based normative frameworks like that of Harris cannot determine the moral standing of PGE, but merely push the question of the moral standing of PGE back a step, without offering any plausible and morally endorsable recourse for how to answer it; (2) even if PGE research were legal, which it is not, parents nevertheless have good reason not to consent to it for their children, especially as participants in the first wave(s) of such research. (shrink)
This article will probe into Kant’s viewpoints about parent-child relationship so as to demonstrate that they are inspiring on the one hand—for example on dealing with the relationship as that pertinent to the thing in itself, but on the other hand, there are many flaws. His strategy on avoiding the difficulty of creating by man a being endowed with freedom depends merely on an one-sided comprehension of time, because according to Kant himself, there is a difference as to the time (...) between sensual forms of intuition and expressive form of transcendental imagination. In the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant gives a profound enunciation with respect to the two and the latter is related to free causality and categorical imperative in his moral philosophy. Once it refers to the rights of a being endowed with freedom and the time it requires to maintain them, it is problematic to assert that the creation of such beings is not concerned with, in any sense whatsoever, time and the sensual, mortal body. What is more, Kant failed to take into full consideration that parents are also beings endowed with freedom whose rights to the child are not totally dependent on the latter’s inherent rights but on their own inherent basis. Granting parents too few natural rights, Kant on the other hand allocates them too much obligations in that the parent-child relation is unbalanced in his field of view. Thirdly, he gives no consideration as to whether or not the empirical process of rearing children itself can also create some rights, which nevertheless, should be taken into account when temporal elements can be found from the very original parent-child relationship. (shrink)
One million cases of child maltreatment and twelve hundred child deaths due to abuse and neglect occur per year. But since many cases of abuse and neglect remain either unreported or unsubstantiated due to insufficient evidence, the number of children who are abused, neglected, and killed at the hands of family caregivers is probably higher. One approach to combat child abuse in the U.K. has been the employment of hospital-based covert video surveillance (CVS) to monitor parents suspected of Munchausen (...) Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP). The use of CVS, however, raises concerns about voluntary informed consent, research on human subjects, privacy, and the appropriateness of healthcare providers to conduct CVS. More broadly, the use of CVS raises concerns about the ethical life of healthcare institutions and their moral obligations to the families and communities they serve. The U.K. protocol for CVS is examined in light of these concerns. Three alternative CVS protocols and two procedures for selecting a protocol are then proposed for use in the U.S. The paper concludes that any CVS protocol selected for use by hospitals ought to be selected by means of open and democratic processes that permit community input and, subsequently, the possibility of a consensus on the moral status and scope of CVS. (shrink)
Although moral development of children has long been ascribed predominantly to the effects of parenting, there has been little systematic examination of the specific nature of this relation. In this paper, we identify four foundational components of children's moral development (social orientation, self?control, compliance, self?esteem) and four central aspects of moral functioning (empathy, conscience, moral reasoning, altruism). The parenting roots of each of these eight psychological characteristics are examined, and five core parenting processes (induction, nurturance, demandingness, modelling, democratic family process) (...) that are related empirically to the development of these eight child characteristics are identified and discussed. Finally, we consider the implications of our analysis for teaching parents to influence positively their children's moral development. (shrink)
Soltis' paper contains little data on the underlying neural substrate of the discussed signal function of early infant crying – probably because there is amazingly little known about it. We here discuss the interest of functional neuroimaging as an objective measurement of brain activity in (1) early infants during crying and (2) parents hearing their offspring cry.
Decisions concerning children in the health care setting have engendered significant controversy and sparked ethics policies and statements, legal action, and guidelines regarding who ought to make decisions involving children and how such decisions ought to be made. Traditionally, parents have been the default decision-makers for children not only with regard to health care but with regard to other matters, such as religious practice and education. In recent decades, there has been a steady trend away from the view that (...)parents are in authority over their children and toward the view that children are rights-bearers who should be granted greater authority over themselves. The mature minor doctrine refers to the decision to grant mature minors the authority to make decisions traditionally reserved for their parents. This essay (1) documents the trend towards expanding the understanding of some minors as “mature” and hence as having the right and authority to give informed consent, (2) examines the reasons for which some commentators have a special interest in expanding the mature minor doctrine to the research setting and allowing minors to enroll in research without parental permission, and (3) defends the view that the mature minor doctrine, regardless of its application to clinical health care decisions, ought to be set aside in the research setting in favor of greater parental involvement. (shrink)
"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).. (shrink)
Continuing professional education in ethics for psychologists is becoming more common, as psychology licensing boards in 14 states now require continuing education in ethics as a condition of licensure renewal. This article suggests ways to improve the quality of ethics continuing education by diversifying the content and teaching methods.
The Fauconnier-Ladusaw analysis of negative polarity licensing (that NPIs are licensed in the scope of downward entailing operators) continues to be the benchmark theory of negative polarity. In this paper, I consider some of the moves that are needed to maintain its basic intuition in some recalcitrant arenas: negative polarity licensing by only, adversatives, superlatives, and conditionals. We will see that one has to (i) use a notion of entailment that I call Strawson Entailment, which deals with presuppositions (...) in a particular way, and (ii) prohibit (even natural) context change during an inference. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how to justify these constraints and to see in detail how the semantics of the problematic constructions has to work in order for these moves to successfully rescue the Fauconnier-Ladusaw analysis. I will first show the two assumptions at work in the analysis of NPI licensing by only and adversatives (building on proposals by Kadmon & Landman). I then turn to NPI licensing in the antecedent of conditionals. The standard Stalnaker-Lewis semantics for conditionals—if p, q is true iff q is true in the closest p-world(s)—might make one suspect that once one has an explanation for NPI licensing by superlatives, that would immediately deliver an explanation for NPI licensing in conditionals. But it turns out that the particular analysis that seems appropriate for NPI licensing by superlatives cannot plausibly carry over to conditionals. Instead, one does better by appealing to an alternative analysis of conditionals, one that I have elsewhere argued for on independent grounds. (shrink)
Human rights are a central part of a social worker's value base in contemporary practice, but the structures by which social work services are delivered can adversely affect practitioners? abilities to uphold service user rights. This article describes the organizational development of social work services in England and the evolution of a rights focus for the practice of social work. It uses two cases, participation by children and young people looked after by the local authority and parents with learning (...) difficulties, to determine what prevents the delivery of rights at practice level. We argue that the structures which are the product of historical development prevent workers delivering a service that is anti-oppressive and grounded in a rights-based approach to practice. This suggests that the recent changed arrangements for the delivery of social work offer the opportunity to address human rights within practice and reinvigorate the profession. The division of the profession between children's trusts and adult social services within separate local authority departments or care trusts should make dialogue between specialist social workers, which has been suppressed by internal structures, possible. Such a dialogue could contribute to saving the profession from the disintegration that its division threatens, while advancing the human rights agenda. (shrink)