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Respecting children and children’s dignity


Baumann, Holger; Bleisch, Barbara (2015). Respecting children and children’s dignity. In: Bagattini, Alexander; Macleod, Colin. The Nature of Children's Well-Being. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, 141-156.

Abstract

The concept of human dignity has remained surprisingly absent from philosophical discussions about the ethics of childhood so far. Likewise, children as a group are mostly neglected in the ongoing discourse on human dignity. In this paper, we attempt to close this double gap by showing that there is, first, a meaningful way to speak of children’s dignity, and that, second, considering children as a group can be illuminating for dignity theorists in general. After an analysis of the reasons why the debates on human dignity and the ethics of childhood have been conducted almost entirely separately, we develop a concept of respecting children as respecting their dignity. Drawing upon personhood accounts of human dignity, we suggest that respecting a child’s dignity means respecting her activity, which means essentially developing and maintaining a perspective of one’s own. Construed in that way, respecting children’s dignity is in some important respects different from concerns about their well-being and their autonomy. In the last section, we will take a step back from the debate about the ethics of childhood and point to some possible conclusions for the debate about human dignity in general

Abstract

The concept of human dignity has remained surprisingly absent from philosophical discussions about the ethics of childhood so far. Likewise, children as a group are mostly neglected in the ongoing discourse on human dignity. In this paper, we attempt to close this double gap by showing that there is, first, a meaningful way to speak of children’s dignity, and that, second, considering children as a group can be illuminating for dignity theorists in general. After an analysis of the reasons why the debates on human dignity and the ethics of childhood have been conducted almost entirely separately, we develop a concept of respecting children as respecting their dignity. Drawing upon personhood accounts of human dignity, we suggest that respecting a child’s dignity means respecting her activity, which means essentially developing and maintaining a perspective of one’s own. Construed in that way, respecting children’s dignity is in some important respects different from concerns about their well-being and their autonomy. In the last section, we will take a step back from the debate about the ethics of childhood and point to some possible conclusions for the debate about human dignity in general

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology > Center for Ethics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:03 Feb 2016 12:09
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 20:06
Publisher:Springer Netherlands
Series Name:Children's Well-Being
Number:9
ISSN:1879-5196
ISBN:978-94-017-9251-6
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-9252-3_9
Related URLs:http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-017-9252-3_9 (Publisher)
http://www.recherche-portal.ch/ZAD:default_scope:ebi01_prod010288699 (Library Catalogue)

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