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Procreation and ParenthoodThe Ethics of Bearing and Rearing Children$
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David Archard and David Benatar

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199590704

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199590704.001.0001

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The Obligations and Responsibilities of Parenthood

The Obligations and Responsibilities of Parenthood

(p.103) 5 The Obligations and Responsibilities of Parenthood
Procreation and Parenthood

David Archard (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The chapter distinguishes between the parental obligation to ensure that the child has a parent and the responsibilities of acting as a parent. It argues that a causal theory of parental obligation—that those who cause children to exist thereby incur an obligation to ensure that they are adequately cared for—can be defended independently of a theory of parental rights, and has much to commend it. Nevertheless the causal theory must meet the difficulties of supplying a non‐arbitrary and non‐question‐begging account of who amongst those who caused a child to exist, and why only those amongst this set of persons, bears responsibility for caring for the child. The chapter then demonstrate the consistency of a causal theory of parental obligation with allowing others to act as parents to children they have not created. Someone thus can discharge their parental obligation by making provision for, or relying upon the institutional provision of, care of the child by willing and capable others.

Keywords:   parental obligation, parental responsibilities, parental rights, parental package, causal theory, abandonment

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