Chapter

The Autonomy of Children

Norvin Richards

in The Ethics of Parenthood

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199731749
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866311 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199731749.003.0006
The Autonomy of Children

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Even children are entitled to do some things in their own way, but we do not take their autonomy at all as seriously as we do that of an adult. Indeed, we think parents have an obligation to treat them paternalistically. This chapter begins by reviewing some arguments for that view offered by Samantha Brennan and Robert Noggle, and finds these arguments wanting. It then develops new lines of thought. One of these concerns the extent to which a child's character and personality are her own, in a sense important for respecting autonomy. Another draws on obligations that children have themselves, where how they are raised is concerned. The resulting view endorses extensive paternalism toward young children and something much more nuanced toward adolescents.

Keywords: parents; children; parental obligations; obligations of children; paternalism; autonomy; adolescents; Robert Noggle; Samantha Brennan

Chapter.  16326 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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