This project examines the regulatory significance of the family, procreation and parenthood for a just society. Important questions of justice regarding the family arise once we acknowledge and keep in view that procreation and parenthood are both integral to the existence of any society (and therefore, a just society), and that they involve substantial benefits and burdens for parents, children and society at large.
The project identifies and analyses three main sets of questions about family justice:
1) Parental Justice – Does justice require parents and non-parents to share, and share equally, the costs and benefits of having children, and how do different answers to this question bear on our theory of distributive justice?
2) Childhood Justice – What demands for justice do we have as children, how do they relate to those we have as adults, and who bears the correlative duties?
3) Intergenerational Justice – Do all contemporaries, regardless of whether they are parents or non-parents, have the same obligations of justice towards future generations, and how, if at all, are the justification and the content of those obligations affected by considerations about what parents owe to their children and parents and non-parents owe to each other?
The project is funded by an ERC Consolidator Grant (Grant 648610), and runs for five years (from September 2015 until September 2020). The PI´s ERC funded research team includes researchers from Italy, Canada and Romania; the project also involves collaboration with leading experts on issues of distributive justice, procreative ethics, population ethics, childhood and family studies from various countries including the UK, the US and Sweden.
Amina J Mohammed, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary, has observed: “Families are at the core of human development. Among the natural and fundamental bases of society, families are central to the world´s quest for dignity, peace and justice. Moreover, as the basic economic unit in every society, families are key to global efforts to eliminate poverty and bring about prosperity. (“Foreword”, Family Futures, Tudor Rose 2014, http://digital.tudor-rose.co.uk/family-futures/files/assets/basic-html/index.html#1/z#noFlash).
The research project´s main goal is that of developing a regulatory-theoretical framework needed to evaluate and guide public policy in key areas, i.e. all policies that affect the family as a vehicle for social, economic and political change. These include policies that affect the size of the family, access to education and the intergenerational transmission of advantage, child well-being, and protection of the environment, as the easing of population pressure is now acknowledged to be pivotal in tackling climate change.