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date: 21 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The principle that children’s freedom should be preserved in their upbringing is sometimes viewed as an alternative to imposing a particular conception of the good on them. But to sustain the alternative we must distinguish between those desires and proclivities that are educated into a person and those that are his own. Several philosophers appeal to innate or presocial tendencies to ground this distinction, but that approach fails. The ability to exercise first personal authority provides a better conception of what it is for a desire or commitment to be one’s own. However, states educated into a person may also be subject to her first personal authority. Thus, while the ideal of autonomy can provide guidance for child-rearing, it cannot substitute for teaching children a conception of the good.

Keywords: education, autonomy, children, child-rearing, desires, conception of good

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