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Are There Parental Moral Obligations?

SolonKR
Posts: 4,289
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11/30/2016 11:09:29 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
In other words, do parents have a moral obligation to take care of their children? If so, why?

Obviously, the instinctual answer is yes, but I'm curious to know how different people justify it.
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Welfare-Worker
Posts: 1,694
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12/1/2016 2:13:29 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
We have a moral obligation to care for all life, even the life we take should be done with respect. I'm thinking animals here, aka food.
Adults have a moral obligation to care for children. If they happen to be their children....

The principle is, living things have moral obligations to other living things.
Even the lion that eats me. Nothing wrong with that, after all, I am just lion food.
Why?
Because that is how it works.
Core principle, no need for justification.

As happens, the real question is, 'to what extent?'.
Do I have the same moral obligation to put food in the mouths of my neighbor's children as my own children?
No, different obligation. I am the cause of my children, not the cause of my neighbor's children.

In the U.S., parents have abdicated their responsibility for their children to the state.
I have been told by parents "Somebody has to feed these children".
Not, "How do I feed these children?".

The state has allowed, even encouraged, parents to shirk their moral obligation to their own children.

I have a special moral obligation for things that I caused, or own. If I own guns, I have a moral obligation to see they do no harm, that is greater than my moral obligation for guns my neighbor may own.
Again, these are core beliefs, need no justification.
Devilry
Posts: 2,142
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12/1/2016 2:21:07 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
I would say an adult has a moral obligation to any child, and a man to nearly any woman (so long as she's not a total btch).

Not sure where I get that from. Perhaps in some belief that the world was given to us all equally. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs - I guess.
: : : At 11/15/2016 6:22:17 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
: That's not racism. Thats economics.
keithprosser
Posts: 3,389
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12/1/2016 3:17:46 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 11/30/2016 11:09:29 PM, SolonKR wrote:
In other words, do parents have a moral obligation to take care of their children? If so, why?

Obviously, the instinctual answer is yes, but I'm curious to know how different people justify it.

Both above posts re-inforce what the OP said - it's instinctually obvious, but if you start to think 'why' it all falls down!

I think that this definitely belongs in the philosophy forum, not the science forum because from a scientific, Darwinian point of view the answer is trivial; namely it is only parents that care for their children that will have grandchildren. (When thinking about natural selection it is often better to think about grandchildren rather that children when considering whether some gene or trait is beneficial or not).

I think we can safely assume that moral nihilists make lousy parents and have few grandchildren!

Philosophically, I think one has two options. a) Assume one's intution is correct and it is moral to look after offspring and any proof thereof can wait or b) because a duty of care has not been proven to exist, assume the duty of care does not exist.

Obviously in practice people choose a) (note: not 'choose' in a the sense of sitting down and thinking about it, it's just what they end up doing). b) is actually a special case of the argument often used against the existence of objective morality in all its forms, espcially here on DDO. While often b) is often asserted, few people actually live or behave according to it.

So I think it is (almost certainly) moral to look after offspring. However the proof thereof will have to wait until more people accept the principle of objective morality and we have worked out the details... It is at very least the more prudent option! :)
Devilry
Posts: 2,142
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12/1/2016 3:30:15 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
There's no need for a 'why'. All personal philosophy is, at its heart, tautological. Instinct - and choice - are enough.

What one should concern themselves with is applying their philosophy and correcting errors in their moral computations.
: : : At 11/15/2016 6:22:17 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
: That's not racism. Thats economics.
Jonbonbon
Posts: 2,978
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12/3/2016 10:40:39 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 11/30/2016 11:09:29 PM, SolonKR wrote:
In other words, do parents have a moral obligation to take care of their children? If so, why?

Obviously, the instinctual answer is yes, but I'm curious to know how different people justify it.

I can justify it several different ways.

The reason it's the natural answer is because we naturally would like for the strongest continuation of our species possible. It's morally good because it acts in favor of the human race.

It's commanded by certain religions, like Christianity, where fostering growth in children is more than just expected by parents.

Rule deontological ethics probably has something to say about it.

Teleological ethics under the scope of Kant would definitely agree.

Sorry I'm being general about it XD just naming different viewpoints that would agree. The utilitarianist, naturalistic, two-sentence spiel put at the front of this would be my presentation.
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Procrastine
Posts: 139
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12/4/2016 1:37:29 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 11/30/2016 11:09:29 PM, SolonKR wrote:
In other words, do parents have a moral obligation to take care of their children? If so, why?

Obviously, the instinctual answer is yes, but I'm curious to know how different people justify it.

When a child is born the parents have a duty of care because the child can't take care of itself. They can transfer the care to someone else, which is okay. There's not always options for good care, though. It's like the legislation for bystander first aid. You don't have to act to assist someone who is injured, but if you do act to assist, you have to follow through. You can't start to help them and abandon them. So parents, by producing the child, have started to act to care for it and are therefore obliged to carry through unless there's an effective transfer of care.
Quadrunner
Posts: 3,041
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12/5/2016 6:46:46 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 11/30/2016 11:09:29 PM, SolonKR wrote:
In other words, do parents have a moral obligation to take care of their children? If so, why?

Obviously, the instinctual answer is yes, but I'm curious to know how different people justify it.

If you are responsible for putting someone in a position, you are responsible for the outcome. You are responsible for the results of your decisions.
keithprosser
Posts: 3,389
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12/6/2016 8:21:31 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 12/5/2016 6:46:46 PM, Quadrunner wrote:
If you are responsible for putting someone in a position, you are responsible for the outcome. You are responsible for the results of your decisions.

"You are responsible for the results of your decisions" seems fair enough - although there doesn't seem to be any reason why that is is, other than it 'feels right'.

What if a baby is abandoned on your doorstep? I don't think you have any duty of care beyong calling social services or the police, but do you even have that much noral duty? Can't you just ignore it, on the basis that you did not put the baby in that position?
Geogeer
Posts: 4,940
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12/6/2016 5:45:08 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 11/30/2016 11:09:29 PM, SolonKR wrote:
In other words, do parents have a moral obligation to take care of their children? If so, why?

Obviously, the instinctual answer is yes, but I'm curious to know how different people justify it.

It is the natural order of our species.
mrsatan
Posts: 479
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12/8/2016 5:22:28 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 11/30/2016 11:09:29 PM, SolonKR wrote:
In other words, do parents have a moral obligation to take care of their children? If so, why?

Obviously, the instinctual answer is yes, but I'm curious to know how different people justify it.

Parents have a moral obligation to their children. They imposed that obligation upon themselves when they chose to have a child. They made a decision for the child that it was incapable of making itself. A decision that it would be better for that child to exist, than to not exist. It's a decision they are responsible for, and so they are morally obligated to ensure, as best they can, that the decision they took it upon themselves to make was a good one.

Admittedly, this view rests upon the presumption that the child has no choice in being born. I know of no reason to assume otherwise, though.