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The special goods of childhood: lessons from social constructionism


Giesinger, Johannes (2017). The special goods of childhood: lessons from social constructionism. Ethics and Education, 12(2):201-217.

Abstract

To what extent does the common claim that childhood is ‘socially constructed’ affect the ethical debate on the ‘intrinsic’ and ‘special’ goods of childhood? Philosophers have referred to this kind of goods in their critique of overly adult-centred and future-oriented conceptions of childhood. The view that some goods are child-specific, in the sense that they are only good for children, not for adults, seems to presuppose an understanding of what children ‘are’, and how they differ from adults. However, if the social-constructionist view is accepted, it cannot be assumed that childhood is a given. This essay claims that the social-constructionist understanding of childhood does not undermine the debate on the moral status and the goods of childhood, but that nevertheless important lessons can be drawn from the insight that childhood, as we know it, is not a natural and universal phenomenon

Abstract

To what extent does the common claim that childhood is ‘socially constructed’ affect the ethical debate on the ‘intrinsic’ and ‘special’ goods of childhood? Philosophers have referred to this kind of goods in their critique of overly adult-centred and future-oriented conceptions of childhood. The view that some goods are child-specific, in the sense that they are only good for children, not for adults, seems to presuppose an understanding of what children ‘are’, and how they differ from adults. However, if the social-constructionist view is accepted, it cannot be assumed that childhood is a given. This essay claims that the social-constructionist understanding of childhood does not undermine the debate on the moral status and the goods of childhood, but that nevertheless important lessons can be drawn from the insight that childhood, as we know it, is not a natural and universal phenomenon

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology > Center for Ethics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Uncontrolled Keywords:Childhood, social constructionism, ethics, special goods of childhood, intrinsic goods of childhood
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:07 Nov 2017 15:13
Last Modified:19 Aug 2018 11:07
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1744-9642
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/17449642.2017.1314168
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID100019_159890
  • : Project TitlePaternalismus und der moralische Status von Kindern

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