Department of Philosophy

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Philosophy

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Cover of Cormier and Sypnowich, Family Values and Social JusticeJust out is a new volume edited by Christine Sypnowich and Andrée-Anne Cormier, Family Values and Social Justice. The volume contains chapters that respond to a book by Harry Brighouse and Adam Swift, Family Values.

In making the argument for the remedy of inequality, contemporary political philosophers often emphasize the arbitrariness of disadvantage, stressing how one’s lot in life is to a significant extent determined by the circumstances of one’s birth, that is, in which family, and in what part of the world. In the latter instance, people differ in how well they live in a large part because of their context in the global order. But equally important for a person’s chances in life is the family that raises her (if the person is lucky enough to have a family in the first place). In Family Values: the Ethics of Parent-Child Relationships, Harry Brighouse and Adam Swift provide a systematic analysis of the morality and politics of the family, exploring why families are valuable, whether people have a right to parent, what rights and duties parents have, and, in particular, what rights children have that may constrain the rights of their parents. The essays in this volume assess Brighouse and Swift’s contribution, taking up a number of controversial issues about autonomy, human flourishing, parental rights, and indeed the nature of childhood itself. Contributors offer a range of arguments, some challenging, others complementing, of Brighouse and Swift’s account of the ethics of parent-child relationships.

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