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The composition of the family

Chapter in book
Authors Daniela Cutas
Published in The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Childhood and Children / edited by Anca Gheaus, Gideon Calder and Jurgen De Wispelaere.
Pages 191-201
ISBN 9781138915978
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication New York
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Pages 191-201
Language en
Keywords parents, children, family, biological ties
Subject categories Ethics


The chapter starts with an exploration of what the family is in order then to move on to look at its parts. The family has been defined in terms of its form (e.g. a mother, a father, and their biological offspring) or its function (e.g. adults taking and/or sharing custodial responsibility for children). In both of these cases, children are a necessary ingredient for a unit to be called a family – but the chapter also briefly reviews proposals to extend the accolade of “family” to beyond child-rearing. From a perspective concerned primarily with family form, biological and more specifically genetic parents have been seen as those to whom children should be born, and by whom they should be raised. From a perspective concerned with family function, this is not necessarily the case. Lastly, the chapter looks at the relation between parents and the requirements that co-parenting may generate in this regard.

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