Parental rights and obligations
In this dissertation, I (i) defend a pluralistic account of the grounds of parenthood; (ii) argue that parents do possess moral rights as parents; and (iii) give a stewardship account of the legal and moral obligations of parents to their children. I employ an intuitive conception of a parent as someone who has special rights and obligations with respect to at least one child.
I consider several accounts of the source of parental rights and obligations, and argue that no one theory is able to generate parental rights and obligations. Perhaps most controversial is my belief that parental obligations can be acquired when one plays a certain type of causal role in the existence of a child, even if one does not consent to the creation of a child or to undertaking obligations to that child. I also discuss some important implications that a causal account of parental obligations has for the use of certain reproductive technologies.
Next, I reject absolutist versions of the extent of parental rights, and then consider several challenges to the existence of the moral rights of parents. I argue that certain fundamental interests of both parents and children can be satisfied via the parent-child relationship, and that these interests ground the existence of prima facie negative parental rights. I examine several issues related to family life and public policy, and consider the implications of my argument for parental rights for these issues.
Finally, I explore the content of the legal and moral obligations of parents to their children, and argue that parental obligations are best understood under the concept of stewardship.
Families & family life;
0628: Families & family life
0628: Personal relationships