Justice for Children: Autonomy Development and the State

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In this groundbreaking theory of justice for children, Harry Adams takes the basic moral and political ideal of autonomy and shows what radical implications it has when applied to children and their development. Adams argues that it makes little sense to try to respect everyone's autonomy if enough attention hasn't been given to the ways that people do and do not develop autonomy in the first place, when they're young. Using the latest empirical research-from developmental psychology to population health and life course studies to primate ethnology and neurobiology-he explores how children develop different degrees of autonomy. Adams also discusses various public policies and programs that he feels any truly just society will have in place, in order to protect disadvantaged children's attainment of a minimal level of autonomy. He analyzes the ethical and practical appeals to, as well as the dangers and limits of, various family intervention programs, compulsory contraception programs, and early education programs, providing both a parental licensing model and an educational justice standard.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
This interesting, ingeniously argued, insightful and informative and very timely book makes a convincing case for the state's duty to guarantee the conditions necessary for all children to attain a minimal degree of autonomy, by ensuring proper parenting and education.— Metapsychology

"Justice for Children is a morally serious work; it is intended as a call for action as well as thought."— Journal for Peace and Justice Studies

"The author writes about creating a world that is better for children, and writing as a philosopher, develops a sustained argument for improving children's lives. Offering radical conclusions and proposals, he touches upon profoundly important social justice questions of how to ensure that children are raised in a manner that maximizes their potential to lead happy and productive lives."— Martin Guggenheim, author of What's Wrong with Children's Rights"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791473313
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 2/7/2008
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.33 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Harry Adams is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Prairie View A&M University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Autonomy 5

1.1 Autonomy 5

1.2 The Necessary Conditions of Autonomy 10

1.3 The Degrees of Autonomy 16

1.4 The Value of Autonomy 21

1.5 The Moral Priority of Children's Development of Autonomy 31

Chapter 2 Autonomy Development 39

2.1 Child Development and the Autonomy Threshold 40

2.2 Young Adulthood and the Signs of Autonomy (The Commencement of a Life Path) 43

2.3 Adolescence and the Building Blocks of Autonomy (The Acquisition of Self-Efficacy Skills) 57

2.4 Childhood and the Foundations of Autonomy (The Early Pathways of Development) 70

Chapter 3 Crippled Autonomy Development and State Intervention 85

3.1 Crippled Autonomy Development and the Harm Principle 85

3.2 Crippled Autonomy Development and State Intervention 94

3.3 Possible Types of State Intervention 113

Chapter 4 Intervention in the Family: A Parental Licensing Model 117

4.1 The Proactive Management of Risks 118

4.2 A Model of Parental Licensing 123

4.3 Compulsory Contraception 137

Chapter 5 Intervention in the School: An Educational Justice Standard 157

5.1 The Need for Educational Justice 158

5.2 The Educational Justice Standard (to Support at Least Minimal Autonomy, ≥ AL3) 166

5.3 Addendum: Educational Support For More than Minimal Autonomy (≥ AL4)? 173

Chapter 6 Conclusion 191

Appendix. The Societal Assessment of Injustice of Children 197

Notes 203

Bibliography 225

Index 251

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