Are Adults and Children One Another’s Moral Equals?

The Journal of Ethics 27 (1):31-50 (2023)
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The question of the basis of human equality has recently gained increasing attention. However, much of the literature has focused on whether persons—understood as fully competent adults—have equal moral status, while relatively less attention has been devoted to the analysis of what grounds the equal moral status of those human beings who are not fully competent adults. This paper contributes to this debate by addressing the question of the equality of moral status between adults and children. Specifically, this paper has three aims. First, it provides a conceptual map of this complex issue. Second, it argues that the challenges that have been raised against standard accounts of persons’ equal moral status are even more forceful when applied to the question of adults and children’s moral equality. Finally, it examines what a commitment to adults and children’s moral _inequality_ entails and what it does not, thereby showing that the justificatory role of the principle of moral equality is not as far-reaching as commonly assumed.



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Giacomo Floris
University of York

Citations of this work

Abortion and the basis of equality: a reply to Miller.Alexander Bozzo - 2024 - Journal of Medical Ethics 50 (3):207-208.
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References found in this work

Problems of the Self.Bernard Williams - 1973 - Cambridge [Eng.]: Cambridge University Press.
The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Philosophy 63 (243):119-122.

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