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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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The Graceful Exit

The Graceful Exit

(p.246) 12 The Graceful Exit
The Ethics of Parenthood

Norvin Richards (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter concerns whether there are sacrifices that parents should not allow their grown children to make for their sake, even if the children want to make them. It argues against John Hardwig's contention that there is a duty to die rather than be too costly to one's children. It grants that declining to die when remaining alive is highly costly to the child can be described as selfish, but argues that selfishness need not be objectionable at all if it occurs within the kinds of relationships that we have in mind when we speak of loved ones making sacrifices for one another. It also explores when a person ought not to incur a debt of gratitude, even to a loved one.

Keywords:   parents, children, grown children, duty to die, John Hardwig, selfishness, love, sacrifice, debts of gratitude

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