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date: 10 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

What can explain holding both the judgment that it would have been better for a 14-year-old girl not to have had the child she did and her later judgment that she does not regret having the child? An account of our identity as the particular persons we are can explain how these judgments are not contradictory in a way that incorporates the insights of a number of philosophers who have wrestled with this question. Some aspects of identity are fixed from birth—genetic characteristics, some physical characteristics—but much of identity remains an open question shaped by how lives unfold and attachments to others develop. Moreover, there is a potential darker side to this dynamic if the relationship does not go well and burdens are imposed on others. Suitably refined, Parfit and Velleman’s accounts can help to explain how, for example, the 14-year-old might experience remorse for how she has wronged her own parents.

Keywords: teenage pregnancy, identity, identity formation, identity crisis, moral regret, personhood, relational ethics, parent–child relation, attachment

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