Moral dilemmas
in Evaluating parental power
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This chapter argues that moral dilemmas are real or genuine conflicts between independent moral considerations. It addresses moral dilemmas concerning the legitimacy of parents' power through what John Rawls's public or political reasoning, that is, reasonableness as well as Thomas Nagel's account of public justification in a context of actual disagreement. In support of Nagel's position, the chapter looks at Bernard Williams's account of what genuine dilemmas are and how they arise. The view of moral dilemmas defended entails that the role of theory has its limits, and in particular, theory will not identify a general rule for the resolution of moral conflicts. The chapter outlines an approach to practical reason and practical judgement. It explains how practical judgement can complement theoretical reasoning when faced with moral dilemmas.

Evaluating parental power

An exercise in pluralist political theory


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