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The Ethics of Parenthood$
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Norvin Richards

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199731749

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199731749.001.0001

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Filial Obligations

Filial Obligations

(p.228) 11 Filial Obligations
The Ethics of Parenthood

Norvin Richards (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter adopts Simon Keller's insight that the obligations grown children have to their parents cannot be understood as debts of gratitude. After explaining why not, it argues that filial obligations are best understood instead as duties to give our parents a place in our affections that is roughly equivalent to the one we had in their affections when we were young and under their care, and that if we are unable to care about them to this extent then our obligation is to act as if we did. What exactly fulfilling that duty requires grown children to do for their parents is explored. Finally, it is argued that although parents can act in ways that sever these obligations, the obligations are highly durable and open‐ended, and though they are not the same for every child, they are ordinarily quite considerable.

Keywords:   parents, children, grown children, filial obligations, gratitude, Simon Keller

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