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Choosing Tomorrow's ChildrenThe Ethics of Selective Reproduction$
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Stephen Wilkinson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273966

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199273966.001.0001

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Parental Duties and Virtues

Parental Duties and Virtues

Chapter:
(p.21) 2 Parental Duties and Virtues
Source:
Choosing Tomorrow's Children
Author(s):

Stephen Wilkinson (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199273966.003.0002

This chapter considers arguments that criticise selective reproduction by suggesting that it is incompatible with certain parental duties and virtues. It starts by looking at the idea that parents ought unconditionally to love their children and at the (related) virtue of parental acceptance. During this discussion, the claim that children should be regarded as gifts is also examined. The chapter then evaluates and rejects Putnam's ‘diversity argument’ against selection, before finally looking in some detail at the claim that children have a ‘right to an open future’, and at some wider questions about promoting and respecting autonomy. The chapter's ultimate conclusion is that arguments (against selective reproduction) based on parental duties and virtues are weak. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that prospective parents are, in important respects, in a morally different position from actual ones.

Keywords:   open future, diversity argument, gifts, parental duties, selective reproduction, unconditional love, children, parental acceptance, autonomy, prospective parents

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