Justice and Legitimacy in Upbringing

Justice and Legitimacy in Upbringing

Matthew Clayton

Print publication date: 2006

ISBN: 9780199268948

Publisher: Oxford University Press


This book defends a particular liberal conception of justice and legitimacy, and applies it to certain issues concerning the upbringing of children. It begins by offering an account of liberal political morality that draws on the work of Rawls and Dworkin. It then defends the claim that the distribution of childrearing rights should be sensitive to the interests of both children and parents. With respect to the issue of whether it is permissible to impart controversial values to children, a distinction is drawn between shaping children’s political motivations and enrolling them into disputed conceptions of the good. Whereas there is a requirement of liberal legitimacy to foster liberal virtues of civility and reciprocity, the widely held view that the enrolment of children into particular ethical or religious practices is rejected as illegitimate. Finally, the practice of age-based discrimination in the case of the allocation of certain rights, such as the right to vote, is defended and criteria for determining the appropriate age of majority are discussed.