When children do wrong, should we respond differently than we would if they were adults? That belief underlies the practice of having separate systems of juvenile justice, and Tamar Schapiro points out that it also underlies our everyday reactions. This chapter argues against a standard justification for this view, namely that children are not responsible for their actions in the way that adults are. A different thesis is supported by an analysis of reactive attitudes such as resentment and a theory about the way in which a child's character becomes his or her own. The conclusion drawn is that children who do wrong are ordinarily entitled to have us take this behavior primarily as an occasion to contribute to their moral education, and adults who do wrong are not. The chapter closes by offering a view about when this presumption is to be abandoned with regard to a child who has done wrong, and it argues that typically these are occasions for mercy.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.