Conference on ‘The nature and value of childhood’ May 16-17

Conference: The nature and value of childhood
University of Sheffield

Currently there is widespread philosophical interest in children’s rights, parental rights and duties, and wider issues concerning good parenting and the social organisation of childrearing. Yet, to fully address these topics one needs to assume an answer to the question of ‘What is a child?’ To know who owes what to children in any detail, we need to know what distinguishes childhood from adulthood, and to answer questions about the relative value of childhood and adulthood in the overall life of a human being.
This conference brings together philosophers interested in a cluster of questions that have not been sufficiently discussed so far, but which are starting to draw philosophical attention: What is childhood? Is childhood good intrinsically, or only as preparation for adulthood? If it is intrinsically good, does it have special value – would it be a loss, from the perspective of an entire human life, if one missed out on childhood? Are there any ‘intrinsic goods of childhood’, and what are they? Do we owe children things that are different in nature from the things owed to adults?

Papers:

Monika Betzler (Berne) ‘Good childhood and the good life’

Samantha Brennan (Western Ontario) ‘Trust, time, and play: Three intrinsic goods of childhood’

Matthew Clayton (Warwick) ‘Dignity as an ideal for children’

Jurgen De Wispelaere (McGill) ‘Political rights for Rugrats: Children in the democratic state’

Timothy Fowler (Bristol) ‘Variety is the spice of life?: On the possible significance of their being intrinsic goods of childhood’

Colin Macleod (Victoria) ‘Just schools and good fun: Non-preparatory dimensions of educational justice’

Serena Olsaretti (ICREA/Pompeu Fabra) ‘Egoism, altruism and the special duties of parents’

Lindsey Porter (Lancaster) ‘Paternalism: why is it bad to be treated like a child?’

Norvin Richards (Alabama) ‘The intrinsic goods of childhood’

Judith Suissa (London) ‘Narrativity, childhood and parenting’

Patrick Tomlin (Reading) ‘Saplings or caterpillars?: Trying to understand children”

Daniel Weinstock (McGill) ‘On the complementarity of the ages of life: Why we wouldn’t want adulthood without childhood, or childhood without adulthood’

The conference will take place on the 16th and 17th of May 2014 at the University of Sheffield, Jessops West Exhibition Space.

Registration fees: 10 GBP for one day or 20 GBP for both days cover coffee and lunch. Registration and full program will be available soon. For more details get in touch with the organisers: Anca Gheaus (a.gheaus@sheffield.ac.uk) or Lindsey Porter (l.porter@lancaster.ac.uk)

The conference is sponsored by the Society for Applied Philosophy, The Mind Association and The Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain.

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