Moral Equality, Bioethics, and the Child

  • Claudia Wiesemann

Part of the International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine book series (LIME, volume 67)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. An Outline of the Debate on Moral Equality

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Claudia Wiesemann
      Pages 3-19
    3. Claudia Wiesemann
      Pages 21-41
  3. The Theoretical Framework of a Moral-Equality Approach

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 43-43
    2. Claudia Wiesemann
      Pages 45-58
    3. Claudia Wiesemann
      Pages 59-71
    4. Claudia Wiesemann
      Pages 73-86
    5. Claudia Wiesemann
      Pages 87-102
  4. A Moral-Equality Approach to Childhood and Other Situations of Dependency

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 103-103
    2. Claudia Wiesemann
      Pages 105-129
    3. Claudia Wiesemann
      Pages 131-151
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 153-155

About this book


Presenting real life cases from clinical practice, this book claims that children can be conceived of as moral equals without ignoring the fact that they still are children and in need of strong family relationships. Drawing upon recent advances in childhood studies and its key feature, the ‘agentic child’, it uncovers the ideology of adultism which has seeped into much what has been written about childhood ethics. However, this book also critically examines those positions that do accord moral equality to children but on grounds not strong enough to support their claim. It lays the groundwork for a theory of moral equality by assessing the concepts of parenthood, family, best interest, paternalism, and, above all, autonomy and trust which are so important in envisioning what we owe the child. It does not only show how children – like adults – should be considered moral agents from infancy but also how ethical theories addressing adults can significantly profit from recognizing this. The analysis takes into account contributions from European as well as American scholars and makes use of a wide range of ethical, psychological, cultural, and social-scientific research.


autonomy and trust of the child bioethics and the child child rights conceptions of parenthood education and moral self moral adultism moral equality moral status of the child natality and the concept of parenthood philosophy of change radical openness and radical determination the essence of parenthood the ethics of parenthood the stewardship model welfare rights of the child

Authors and affiliations

  • Claudia Wiesemann
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. Medical Ethics and History of MedicineGoettingen University Medical CentreGöttingenGermany

Bibliographic information

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