Lead


Lay summary
Family relationships form our lives and our personal identity in ways no other relationship does. This research project addresses the range of moral questions family relationships raise:What do parents owe to their children during childhood (e.g. care and protection) and during adolescence (such as respect for their increasing autonomy)? Is it permissible for parents to leave their children? And what do adult daughters and sons owe to their parents, e.g. in terms of loyalty and care? Is our partiality towards our nearest and dearest and especially towards family members morally justifiable? If so, to what extent: may we, for example, favour our kinship to the detriment of strangers? Do common moral theories allow for partial reasons and if so in what way?In modern moral philosophy, family issues have largely been neglected. It is predominantly within applied and political ethics that philosophers have dealt with family issues, e.g. with the fair distribution of domestic work, questions of justice and dignity in reproductive medicine or the question of the legitimacy of state intervention into family life. Only very little attention, however, has been given to more fundamental moral questions such as 1) the normative foundations of familial relationships and 2) scope and content of particular norms like rights and duties within an ethics of the family. It is the aim of this research project to close this gap.The project comprises three subprojects:i) The first subproject focusses on the normative foundations of family relationships, in particular of the parent-child-relationship. It analyzes its normative structure as well as its components ‚parenthood' and ‚childhood'. Special attention will be paid to the moral significance of the involuntariness and the exclusivity that characterize this type of relationship.The results of the first subproject provide the basis for the subsequent subprojects which deal with further core topics of an ethics of the family:ii) Family relationships give rise to reasons of partiality. What type of reasons are these reasons? How can moral theories best accommodate them?iii) What do parents and children owe to each other? Are there special parental and filial duties among parents and their adult children distinct from obligations of friendship or gratitude?