Children’s agency
in Evaluating parental power
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This chapter explores an aspect of parents' power over children and provides instances where parents' power is exercised so as to promote children's agency. It discusses the findings from the psychology literature on child development, where a positive association is hypothesised between children's positive freedom and children's ever-increasing independence from parental control. To use the concepts of political philosophy, in the psychology literature, a positive association is hypothesised between children's negative freedom and positive freedom. The chapter looks at Joseph Raz's discussion of positive freedom, which refers to both 'the inner capacities required for the conduct of an autonomous life' and 'an adequate range of options' to choose from. Like Raz, Isaiah Berlin acknowledges that moral considerations can pull in different directions leading to moral conflicts. He indicates how practical reasoning can be critical and can take account of the background conditions supportive of autonomy.

Evaluating parental power

An exercise in pluralist political theory

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