Special Agents: Children's Autonomy and Parental Authority

Robert Noggle

in The Moral and Political Status of Children

Published in print June 2002 | ISBN: 9780199242689
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598715 | DOI:
 Special Agents: Children's Autonomy and Parental Authority

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Cognitive incompetence cannot adequately explain the special character of children's moral status. It is, in fact, because children lack preference structures that are sufficiently stable over time that they are not ’temporally extended agents’. They are best viewed as 'special agents’, and parents have the responsibility of fostering the development of temporally extended agency and other necessary related moral capacities. Parental authority should be exercised with the view to assisting children to acquire the capacities that facilitate their transition from 'special agents’ to full and functioning members of the moral community.

Keywords: children; cognitive incompetence; moral capacities; moral status; parental authority; parents; preference structures; special agents; temporally extended agents

Chapter.  10519 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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