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Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy, Volume 3$
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David Sobel, Peter Vallentyne, and Steven Wall

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198801221

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198801221.001.0001

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Liberal Equality and the Moral Status of Parent-Child Relationships

Liberal Equality and the Moral Status of Parent-Child Relationships

(p.58) 3 Liberal Equality and the Moral Status of Parent-Child Relationships
Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy, Volume 3

Serena Olsaretti

Oxford University Press

The justification of the parent-child relationship that lies at the core of the family raises two main challenges for liberal egalitarianism: the challenge of authority and the challenge of partiality. These point, respectively, to the burdens of justifying to children their parents’ having rights over them, and to third parties parents’ favoring of their children in ways that negatively affects others. This paper examines some recent attempts at justifying the family and meeting these two challenges by appealing to the non-instrumental value of the parent-child relationship. It argues that these accounts do not capture some important convictions about the moral status of the parent-child relationship and thereby do not fully meet the two stated challenges. The paper also offers an alternative basis for justifying the parent-child relationship on which parents, by virtue of being morally responsible for their children’s existence, have an obligation to enter a relationship with them.

Keywords:   liberal equality, parent-child relationship, liberal egalitarianism, family justice, authority, partiality

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