Moral Callings and the Decision to Have Children – A Response to Mitchell
Contemporary Philosophy 2004 (25):3&4 (2004)
While there are numerous questions that the having of children raise, there is one that philosophers should be particularly concerned with – “What is the good reason for the having of children?” Recently, Jeff Mitchell has given a deontological answer to this question (Contemporary Philosophy, Vol. XXIV, NO. 5 & 6, Sept/Oct & Nov/Dec 2002, pp. 42-46). His answer is based on the moral function of the having of children. He claims that parenthood is a “moral calling” and that one should heed the call out of a sense of duty and responsibility for the good of society (Mitchell, 44). In this paper, I argue that such a “moral calling” account is mistaken. I maintain that Mitchell’s account is mistaken on two grounds. First, I maintain Mitchell has assumed a problematic stance at the outset and it infects his position in general. That assumption is that we can and should consider the interests of non-existent people when considering the utility of an outcome. By looking at this assumption, we see that the warrant for such a moral reason to have children is lacking, hence, we ought not to appeal to such a reason when deciding whether to have children. The second problem is the failure to provide the epistemic conditions for a central consideration – the warranted belief that one would probably make a good parent. Furthermore, even if we attempt to construct what such conditions might be given other aspects of Mitchell’s account, the conditions fail to provide an adequate justification for the central consideration. Thus, I intend to show that such a moral calling rationale for the having of children is not superior to rationales that focus on the individual’s self-interest.
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Book Review Essay, Parenting Good Children. [REVIEW]Darcia Narvaez & Christyan Mitchell - 1999 - Journal of Moral Education 28 (3):387-394.
Are Children Moral Objectivists? Children's Judgments About Moral and Response-Dependent Properties.Shaun Nichols & Trisha Folds-Bennett - 2003 - Cognition 90 (2):23-32.
The Moral Obligation to Create Children with the Best Chance of the Best Life.Julian Savulescu & Guy Kahane - 2009 - Bioethics 23 (5):274-290.
A Comparative Study of Moral Development of Korean and British Children.Hye-Jeong Baek - 2002 - Journal of Moral Education 31 (4):373-391.
Procreative Reasons-Relevance: On the Moral Significance of Why We Have Children.Mianna Lotz - 2009 - Bioethics 23 (5):291-299.
Children and the Argument From 'Marginal' Cases.Amy Mullin - 2011 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (3):291-305.
The Moral and Political Status of Children: New Essays.David Archard & Colin M. [eds] Macleod - unknown
Savior Siblings, Parenting and the Moral Valorization of Children.Kimberly Strong, Ian Kerridge & Miles Little - 2014 - Bioethics 28 (4):187-193.
Family, Choice and Distributive Justice.Veronique Munoz-Dardé - 2002 - In David Archard & Colin Macleod (eds.), The Moral and Political Status of Children. Oxford University Press.
Exploring Ethics Through Children's Literature.Elizabeth Baird Saenger - 2000 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 14 (1):35-41.
Action Learning and Moral Philosophy with Children.David A. Shapiro - 2000 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 14 (1):27-33.
Added to index2011-06-08
Total downloads25 ( #202,086 of 2,164,866 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #128,940 of 2,164,866 )
How can I increase my downloads?