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The moral status of the (nuclear) family

Journal article
Authors Daniela Cutas
Anna Smajdor
Published in Etikk i praksis
Volume 11
Issue 1
Pages 5-15
ISSN 1890-3991
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Pages 5-15
Language en
Links https://dx.doi.org/10.5324/eip.v11i...
Keywords family, childhood, moral status, conceptual entities, infertility
Subject categories Philosophy, Ethics


The family is commonly regarded as being an important social institution. In several policy areas, evidence can be found that the family is treated as an entity towards which others can have moral obligations; it has needs and interests that require protection; it can be ill and receive treatment. The interests attributed to the family are not reducible to those of its members – and may even come into conflict with them. Using Warren’s criteria for moral status, we show that, although the status of the family is not explicitly described in terms of moral status, the way in which it is treated implies that it has such status

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