Part 2 was supposed to justify the family, which for us means explaining why it’s a good thing that children be raised by parents. Here, in part 3, our back-to-philosophical-basics approach starts to yield more controversial claims. Attention shifts from the question of why it matters that children be raised in families to more familiar, and more contested, questions about what rights parents should have over, or with respect to, their children. What does our theory about why there should indeed be parents imply about the rights of parents? On the proprietarian picture, children belong to their parents, “their” parents are assumed to be their biological progenitors, and those parents are assumed to have extensive rights to control the upbringing of “their” children. By abandoning that picture, and thinking more seriously about the values realized by the institution of the family, we hope to have acquired the intellectual resources needed to approach the topic of parents’ rights in a more nuanced and critical way. Our familial relationship goods account will have implications across a wide range of such questions, but we will focus on two: parents’ rights with respect to the conferral of advantage on their children (in ...
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