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Family ValuesThe Ethics of Parent-Child Relationships$
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Harry Brighouse and Adam Swift

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691126913

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691126913.001.0001

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Liberalism and the Family

Liberalism and the Family

(p.5) Chapter 1 Liberalism and the Family
Family Values

Harry Brighouse

Adam Swift

Princeton University Press

This chapter sets out the ways in which the family might be thought to pose problems for the liberal framework, and defends the adoption of that framework from the objection that it simply cannot do justice to—or, perhaps, fails adequately to care about—the ethically significant phenomena attending parent–child relationships. On the one hand, liberalism takes individuals to be the fundamental objects of moral concern, and the rights it claims people have are primarily rights of individuals over their own lives: the core liberal idea is that it is important for individuals to exercise their own judgment about how they are to live. On the other hand, parental rights are rights over others, they are rights over others who have no realistic exit option, and they are rights over others whose capacity to make their own judgments about how they are to live their lives is no less important than that of the adults raising them.

Keywords:   family, liberalism, social justice, parent–child relationship, parental rights, individual rights

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