Department of Philosophy



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The Department of Philosophy Colloquium Series presents

Christine Sypnowich (Queen's University)

“Flourishing Children, Flourishing Adults: Families, Equality and the Neutralist-Perfectionist Debate”

THURSDAY, March 30th, 2017

WATSON HALL, ROOM 517 @ 4:00 p.m.

Political philosophers are divided on the question of whether society should guide individuals in their projects and goals in light of the competing, yet overlapping, values of moral independence and human wellbeing. The lively neutralist-flourishing debate appears to be significantly muted, however, when it comes to children who, all parties assume, should be guided by adults in their plans of life.  Thus in their stimulating new book, Family Values: the Ethics of Parent-Child Relationships, liberals Harry Brighouse and Adam Swift affirm the role of the family in directing and enabling children’s flourishing.  My paper challenges this distinction between parents and children in the liberal position to argue that the idea that it is appropriate to direct children to enable them to flourish, entails in fact, a commitment to policies that promote and enable the flourishing of all.


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