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Saplings or caterpillars? Trying to understand children's wellbeing

Tomlin, P. (2018) Saplings or caterpillars? Trying to understand children's wellbeing. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 35. pp. 29-46. ISSN 0264-3758

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/japp.12204

Abstract/Summary

Is childhood valuable? And is childhood as, less, or more, valuable than adulthood? In this essay I first delineate several different questions that we might be asking when we think about the ‘value of childhood’, and I explore some difficulties of doing so. I then focus on the question of whether childhood is good for the person who experiences it. I argue for two key claims. First, if childhood wellbeing is measured by the same standards as adulthood, then children are worse off than adults. Second, if childhood and adulthood wellbeing are measured by different standards, then we cannot compare them, and children are neither better off nor worse off than adults. This has some counter-intuitive implications, such as we do not harm persons by depriving them of a childhood, nor by keeping them as children for elongated periods.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Politics and International Relations
ID Code:43224
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell

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