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CPP Colloquium with Anca Gheaus 'The best available parent'

  • Anca Gheaus (Barcelona)
Thursday 19 January 2017
CPP Colloquia 2015-2016 & 2016-2017
Reuvensplaats 3-4
2311 BE Leiden

The Center for Political Philosophy in Leiden is pleased to announce a talk by 

Anca Gheaus (Barcelona)

'The best available parent'


Children need, and are being owed, parents: that is, people who control children's lives in numerous ways. At the same time, children's moral status makes it generally impermissible to sacrifice their interests for the sake of advancing other individuals' interests. Because parenting involves such extensive power over children, it seems that the moral right to rear a particular child is held by the individual who would make the best available parent to that child. Yet, this belief is at odds with universal practices of, and legislations regulating, childrearing. Liberal philosophers attempted to explain why mere adequate parents can hold the right to parent. I analyse, and refute, two such attempts: one that seeks to ground the right to parent in both the child's and the would-be adequate parent's interest; and a second one explaining why procreators have the right to parent if they can do it adequately. The thesis that the right to parent is held by the best available parent is deeply revisionary. However, the reform it indicates need not be worrying, given two additional qualifications. First, while parents may exclude others form exercising high level authority over their children, they do not have the moral right to exclude others from associating with the child. Therefore, the most important goods of childrearing can be made available to a large number of adults. Second, children usually come into the world as part of an already existing relationship with their gestational parent; this relationship deserves protection.

About Anca Gheaus

Dr. Gheaus is the Ramon y Cajal researcher Department of Law at the University of Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Barcelona, Spain. She obtained her doctorate at Central European University in Budapest. Before joining the Law Department at UPF in March 2016, she held research positions at the University College Dublin, Erasmus University Rotterdam, University of Sheffield and University of Umea. Dr. Gheaus works in moral and political philosophy with a particular focus on theories of distributive justice, gender justice and normative issues in family relationships. She has published numerous articles in political and social philosophy, ethics and bioethics. Her recent publications include articles in the Philosophical Quarterly, the Journal of Political Philosophy, Journal for Applied Philosophy, Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, Journal for Ethics and Political Philosophy, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, Social Theory and Practice, Basic Income Studies, Hypatia, and Journal of Social Philosophy. Currently she is working on a monograph on justice in childrearing and co-edits the Routledge Handbook to Children and Childhood.

About the Center for Political Philosophy (CPP) Colloquia Series

The CPP is a collaboration between the Institute for Philosophy and the Institute for Political Science at Leiden University. Attendance of the Colloquia is free and there is no need to register. See CPP  for more information. For further questions please contact dr. Dorota Mokrosinska

All are welcome!

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