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The Ethics of Parenthood (Forum for Philosophy)

6 June 2022, 6:00 pm7:15 pm

In all societies, parents have rights over their children. In particular, they have the right to make decisions on behalf of their children in all areas of their children’s lives, including education, religious observance and relationships. Parental rights fulfil two roles: protecting children’s interests and protecting parents’ interest in rearing their children in line with their values. Yet, these interests are often in tension with one another.

This raises numerous questions: What do parents owe to their children? How should we weight children’s interests against their parents’ interests? What should be the limits of parental discretion? What, if anything, does society owe to parents?



Anca Gheaus (@AncaGheaus) is an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at the Central European University in Vienna. Anca Gheaus’s work addresses questions relating to children’s rights, parental rights, the value of childhood, equality of opportunity and gender justice. She is currently working on a monograph on justice in child-rearing as well as a book on surrogacy. She is also planning to write another book on gender justice.

S. Matthew Liao (@smatthewliao) is the Director of the Center for Bioethics and is an Affiliated Professor in the Department of Philosophy at New York University. Matthew Liao has written The Right to Be Loved, a book in which he argues that children have a right to be loved and investigates questions such as whether children are right-holders and whether love is an appropriate object of a right. He has also worked on the ethics of reproductive genetic engineering and the ethics of “parental love pills”.

Patrick Tomlin is a Professor in the Philosophy Department at the University of Warwick. His work addresses questions related to distributive ethics, equality, children and the family, the ethics of war and self-defence, and moral uncertainty. He has written on children’s well-being and the value of childhood and has addressed the question of who should be responsible for bearing the costs of those things children are undoubtedly owed.



Alex Voorhoeve is Professor and Head of Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method at LSE. He studied economics and philosophy at Erasmus University, Cambridge, and UCL. He has held visiting positions at Harvard, Princeton, the National Institutes of Health, U.S. and Erasmus University Rotterdam.


Further info



6 June 2022
6:00 pm – 7:15 pm
Event Category:


Forum for Philosophy


Online via Zoom