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VulnerabilityNew Essays in Ethics and Feminist Philosophy$
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Catriona Mackenzie, Wendy Rogers, and Susan Dodds

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199316649

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199316649.001.0001

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Parental Values and Children’s Vulnerability

Parental Values and Children’s Vulnerability

(p.242) 10 Parental Values and Children’s Vulnerability

Mianna Lotz

Oxford University Press

A child’s vulnerability establishes significant obligations on others – most notably parents – to protect her from harm and provide the care and resources needed for her to develop into a fully functioning member of the moral community. Beyond the child’s vulnerability to harm and neglect, however, there is also vulnerability in respect of autonomy-development, which can affect what Joel Feinberg calls the child’s “right to an open future”. Yet a requirement to protect a child’s right to an open future is in tension with the proclaimed interest of parents in being free to impart their own substantive values to their offspring. This essay considers whether an adequate recognition of children’s vulnerability entails a requirement of parental values neutrality, and if so, whether such a requirement would be problematic.

Keywords:   vulnerability, children, autonomy, dependency, values neutrality

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