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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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Moral Education

Moral Education

(p.164) 7 Moral Education
The Ethics of Parenthood

Norvin Richards (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter concerns what parents have an obligation to provide their children by way of a moral education. It begins by offering accounts of three traits of character they might instill, together with some points from the psychology of human development—empathy, a sense of fairness, and a sense of responsibility—the chapter argues that these are minimal equipment for living in society with others and that parents therefore have an obligation to the society to instill them in their children. It also argues that parents have a further obligation, to the children themselves rather than to the larger society, to instill the traits that make us capable of friendship and of profiting from open discussion with others. Finally, it argues against saying that parents have an obligation to make their children good people in any more specific way.

Keywords:   parental obligations, moral education, human development, empathy, sense of fairness, sense of responsibility, capacity for friendship, ability to learn from others

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