Normative legitimacy
in Evaluating parental power
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This chapter explores the irreducible plurality of appropriate moral considerations and of morally relevant features when evaluating the legitimacy of parental power. The concept of coercion is necessary for evaluating parental power. The chapter discusses numerous theoretical positions such as republicanism, anarchism, various forms of liberalism, and social contract theory. It shows the inadequacy of efforts made to equate power with one of its forms and, in that way, to reduce moral complexity concerning the legitimacy of power. The legitimacy of power leads to arguments about liberty, coercion, control, authority, and paternalism. The chapter focuses on liberal arguments about the legitimate use of control. Liberals in particular are sensitive to the possibility that those exercising control may violate fundamental liberal commitments, such as liberal neutrality, without using coercion and without interfering with liberty. The chapter distinguishes between legitimate and illegitimate parent-child power relations.

Evaluating parental power

An exercise in pluralist political theory


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