Advanced Search

What is a good reason to have kids? Is desiring to have somebody to love a good

What is a good reason to have kids? Is desiring to have somebody to love a good reason to have kids? Is desiring to be a parent a good reason to have kids? Is desiring to have someone who unconditionally loves you a good reason to have kids? What on earth could justifiably compel someone to instigate such an ontologically significant event fraught with perhaps, if not infinite, vast moral significance, as creating another human existence?

Good questions, ones that are receiving more philosophical treatment recently. As a parent of three I better have some good answers, eh?

First off, I haven't read either the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) entry on Parenthood and Procreation or the book Why Have Children? by Christine Overall (see this article), but you might find those interesting.

So, here are five reasons that I think are good reasons to have children, though of course, they might be outweighed by other reasons (such as worries about overpopulation, or lacking financial resources to raise children well, etc.):

1. Human life has value and humans create valuable and meaningful things (such as art, philosophy, humor, and pleasure), so it is good for humans to continue to exist. So, someone should have kids. It might not be necessary for me or you to have children, but assuming it is better for there to be humans than not (and I think it is), then it is necessary for some people to have children. (Also, a younger generation is required to sustain the economy. You won't get social security unless enough people have kids to pay taxes when you are old.)

2. The relationship between parents and children can be a wonderful relationship that adds meaning and pleasure to one's life (yeah yeah, also frustration and pain), so if you have good reason to think your own life and that of your children will gain meaning, value, pleasure, etc. from that relationship, one should have kids. Children can be fun!

3. Children can provide you with grandchildren, which may provide all the good things described in 2 with less of the frustration and pain. At least that's what all my kids' grandparents say.

4. Children can provide you with a way to continue your existence in certain ways, both biological and psychological. (I'll leave it vague, hoping people will fill in the idea in a better way than I could in a brief response!)

5. Teaching has value and gives meaning to one's life. Passing on good ideas, beliefs, capacities, crafts, trades, traits, etc. is both necessary to sustain them and satisfying in its own right. (This may be a specific part of 1 and 2, but when I said I'd give 5 reasons I was just setting a goal for myself...)

Notice that almost none of the reasons I've given require having biological children rather than adopting. Indeed, it is harder to give reasons for why one should procreate, even if one thinks raising children has value. You may want to check out some of the discussions on this question under the "Children" category on the left bar.

Hope this helps!

Good questions, ones that are receiving more philosophical treatment recently. As a parent of three I better have some good answers, eh? First off, I haven't read either the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) entry on Parenthood and Procreation or the book Why Have Children? by Christine Overall (see this article ), but you might find those interesting. So, here are five reasons that I think are good reasons to have children, though of course, they might be outweighed by other reasons (such as worries about overpopulation, or lacking financial resources to raise children well, etc.): 1. Human life has value and humans create valuable and meaningful things (such as art, philosophy, humor, and pleasure), so it is good for humans to continue to exist. So, someone should have kids. It might not be necessary for me or you to have children, but assuming it is better for there to be humans than not (and I think it is), then it is necessary for some people to have...

Over the past few years, my wife has become a staunch antivaccinationist. (We

Over the past few years, my wife has become a staunch antivaccinationist. (We have a son on the autism spectrum; she has bought into the discredited vaccine causation theory of autism.) She is unreachable on this topic; no facts or reason will move her from her position. Unfortunately, she has decided that our children are to have no further vaccinations. She will not compromise on this. I, of course, want our children to be protected from dangerous diseases and thus want them to be vaccinated. My question: What are my ethical obligations in this situation--to my wife, to my children, and to society? Going behind my wife's back and having the children vaccinated without her knowledge does not seem ethical. Agreeing to her demand that the children receive no further shots also seems unethical--this would put my kids at risk of disease, as well as other people. Telling my wife up front that I'm taking the children to get their shots, despite her objections, also seems problematic--they are her children...

I agree with Professor Smith. The only thing I would add may be obvious and may be something you've already tried. It sometimes helps to have third parties intervene to provide all the facts and arguments you would use to try to persuade your wife to change her mind. Here, your knowledge of who might influence her is useful. Would she trust your family's pediatrician or react harshly against him/her as a member of the 'vaccine conspiracy'? Her parents or yours? Mutual friends? While an 'intervention' would be extreme, making friends and family aware of a serious issue that affects the health of your children (and others) and enlisting their help might make it easier for your wife to back down without feeling pressured to do so solely by you. But should these methods fail, then Prof. Smith's suggestion seems appropriate.

I agree with Professor Smith. The only thing I would add may be obvious and may be something you've already tried. It sometimes helps to have third parties intervene to provide all the facts and arguments you would use to try to persuade your wife to change her mind. Here, your knowledge of who might influence her is useful. Would she trust your family's pediatrician or react harshly against him/her as a member of the 'vaccine conspiracy'? Her parents or yours? Mutual friends? While an 'intervention' would be extreme, making friends and family aware of a serious issue that affects the health of your children (and others) and enlisting their help might make it easier for your wife to back down without feeling pressured to do so solely by you. But should these methods fail, then Prof. Smith's suggestion seems appropriate.

Is it immoral for a person in a rich country to adopt a child from a very poor

Is it immoral for a person in a rich country to adopt a child from a very poor country, while the parents are still alive. Often, the parents in poor countries will beg rich people to take their children, so consent is not an issue.

Since your question is so timely, given the arrest of the missionaries in Haiti who were illegally taking 33 children out of the country, the first thing to point out is that it might be immoral to adopt such children, even with parental consent, if the adoption was made possible by actions that were illegal. That is, it might be immoral because, in general, it is immoral to break the law. Nonetheless, we might ask whether it would be immoral even if it were not illegal or whether this is one of those cases where breaking the law is not immoral (e.g., though some may take it as controversial, I take it that Rosa Parks was not doing something immoral in breaking the (immoral) segregation laws and that homosexuals were not doing something immoral when they had sex in their own homes in states that had (immoral) laws against such acts).

Other philosophers will know this literature better than I, but I take this case of adoption to be one where questions of consent become very difficult, perhaps like the case of someone consenting to sell her kidney or one of her eyes or other organs, or the case of prisoners consenting to be used in medical experiments, or perhaps the somewhat different case of people consenting to prostitution. The worry is that there may be a difference between saying you consent and giving your consent were you not in a compromised situation or were you fully informed, etc. A few parents in Haiti may be agreeing to give away their children only because they are in such desperate circumstances which they believe will never improve or only because they are too tired to think through all the consequences, etc. If so, it seems it would be immoral to take advantage of that situation, especially if there are other options available, such as providing temporary shelter for the children until the country is in better circumstances.

Of course, it also seems plausible that circumstances will never get that much better--that most poor children raised in Haiti will never have the opportunities for education, healthcare, and wealth that they would have if they were adopted by a family in a richer country. (And the parents know this.) And we do allow parents to put their children up for adoption, at least at birth. So, the question bleeds into other issues, such as our obligations to improve the situation in countries like Haiti, the importance of biological parenthood, and whether the children would consent were they fully informed of their situation, etc.

Since your question is so timely, given the arrest of the missionaries in Haiti who were illegally taking 33 children out of the country, the first thing to point out is that it might be immoral to adopt such children, even with parental consent, if the adoption was made possible by actions that were illegal . That is, it might be immoral because, in general, it is immoral to break the law. Nonetheless, we might ask whether it would be immoral even if it were not illegal or whether this is one of those cases where breaking the law is not immoral (e.g., though some may take it as controversial, I take it that Rosa Parks was not doing something immoral in breaking the (immoral) segregation laws and that homosexuals were not doing something immoral when they had sex in their own homes in states that had (immoral) laws against such acts). Other philosophers will know this literature better than I, but I take this case of adoption to be one where questions of consent become very difficult,...