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Taking Responsibility for Children

Edited by Robert Noggle & Samantha Brennan
Subjects Social Science, Child Studies, Philosophy, Ethics, Law, Child Advocacy
Series Studies in Childhood and Family in Canada Hide Details
Paperback : 9781554580156, 210 pages, December 2007
Ebook (PDF) : 9781554580736, 210 pages, December 2007

Table of contents

Table of Contents for Taking Responsibility for Children, edited by Samantha Brennan and Robert Noggle
INTRODUCTION Taking Responsibility for Children | Robert Noggle and Samantha Brennan
ONE Raising Children: Who Is Responsible for What? | Colin M. MacLeod
TWO Parental Responsibility | Jan Narveson
THREE Children, Caregivers, Friends | Amy Mullin
FOUR Parent Licensing and the Protecting of Children | Mark C. Vopat
FIVE Responsibility and Children’s Rights: The Case for Restricting Parental Smoking | Samantha Brennan and Angela White
SIX Political Liberalism and Moral Education: Reflections on Mozart v. Hawkins | Marc Ramsay
SEVEN Education in a Liberal Society: Implications of Ross | Waren Wendling
EIGHT Could There Be a Right Not to Be Born an Octuplet? | Laura M. Purdy
Notes on Contributors
Colin M. Macleod is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria. He is the author Liberalism, Justice and Markets (OUP 1998) and co-editor with David Archard of The Moral and Political Status of Children (OUP 2002).
Amy Mullin is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. She is the author of Reconceiving Pregnancy and Childcare (Cambridge 2005), along with articles in feminist philosophy, the history of philosophy, and aesthetics. She has three children.
Jan Narveson is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the University of Waterloo, after teaching there for more than forty years. He is the author of The Libertarian Idea, Respecting Persons in Theory and Practice, Moral Matters, and various others. He is the father of three and devotes a lot of his life to organizing chamber music concerts.
Laura M. Purdy received a PhD from Stanford University and is Professor of Philosophy and Ruth and Albert Koch Professor of Humanities at Wells College, where she has been based since 1979. Her areas of specialization are applied ethics, primarily bioethics, reproductive ethics, family issues, and feminism. She is author of In Their Best Interest? The Case against Equal Rights for Children and Reproducing Persons: Issues in Feminist Bioethics and co-editor of Feminist Perspectives in Medical Ethics (with Helen B. Holmes), Violence against Women: Philosophical Perspectives (with Stanley French and Wanda Teays), Embodying Bioethics: Recent Feminist Advances (with Anne Donchin), and Bioethics, Justice, and Health Care (with Wanda Teays), as well as many articles.
Marc Ramsay is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Acadia University. In addition to children’s rights, his current research interests include the role of the harm principle in constitutional law and the relevance of religious beliefs to the law of torts.
Mark C. Vopat is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio. His research interests are in moral and political philosophy, particularly in the areas of children's rights, education, distributive justice, and justice and technology. He has written recently on issues of justice, religion, and a child's right to an education, as well as on issues in professional ethics. His homepage can be found at
Karen Wendling is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario. Most of her publications are on egalitarianism, broadly conceived. She also has a long-standing interest in the political development of children from unfree and unequal subjects into free and equal citizens.
Angela White is a doctoral student in Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario. Her research interests are in political philosophy and social justice, health care ethics, and feminist ethics. She has published and presented work on ethical issues related to reproductive technologies, particularly in vitro fertilization and human embryo stem cell research. Her homepage is at


What do we as a society, and as parents in particular, owe to our children? Each chapter in Taking Responsibility for Children offers part of an answer to that question. Although they vary in the approaches they take and the conclusions they draw, each contributor explores some aspect of the moral obligations owed to children by their caregivers. Some focus primarily on the responsibilities of parents, while others focus on the responsibilities of society and government.
The essays reflect a mix of concern with the practical and the philosophical aspects of taking responsibility for children, addressing such topics as parental obligations, the rights and entitlements of children, the responsibility of the state, the role and nature of public education in a liberal society, the best ways to ensure adequate child protection, the licensing of parents, children’s religious education, and children’s health. Taking Responsibility for Children will be of interest to philosophers, advocates for children’s interests, and those interested in public policy, especially as it relates to children and families.