Dear H. - Let me start by pointing you towards the American Society for Aesthetics. They have a really good teaching resource page here: http://www.aesthetics-online.org/teaching/. I also can recommend the book Puzzles about Aesthetics: A Casebook, edited by Battin, Fischer, Moore, and Silvers, widely available online. I'm not sure all of the book's commentary will be suitable for high school students, let alone younger ones, because it is a sophisticated introduction to the topic. But many of the cases there would work very well in those classroom settings. Finally, I think the best way to start a lesson on aesthetics is with the students' own aesthetics experiences, perhaps by asking them to share or write about the music, tv shows, books, outdoors experiences, etc. that move them most. Good luck!
On the other hand, there certainly have been cases where social services have removed children from parents where children have become obese, and the parents have been taken to be at fault.It seems to me to be an issue that needs to be considered on a case by case manner. There may be something in the parents' behavior that encourages obesity in the children, in just the same way that a parent may be in trouble with the authorities for letting their child play by a road.
We tend to think that although many parents are not ideal, it is generally better for children to be brought up by them than by removing them and trying out alternative carers for them. There are clearly cases though where parents do not take account sufficiently of the dangerous situations in which they place their children and intervention by the state is then justifiable. Obesity could well be such a situation, especially given the wide range of ailments to which it leads.
I don't see why it should be. Like inter-ethnic adoption, it might be better for someone to be adopted by someone more like them, but then it might not be also. If there is no alternative, it seems to me to be often better than leaving the child where it is.Presumably the new parents would have to think about how far they want to involve the child in the original culture of the country they come from, but that is about it.
One of the curious aspects of inter-country and inter-ethnic adoption is that it is often regarded with suspicion by people who have no problems with inter-racial dating, or marriage, and this seems strange. The difference of course is that in one case the child is not able to give consent, and in the other the potential partners can, but the child can always decide what attitude he or she is to take to their origins later on. If they are not adopted it may sadly be the case that often there is no later on at all.
I'm sympathetic to most of what Professor Heck says, if we consider things from a deontological or even a consequentialist point of view, where the relevant consequences are external to the agent. Fantasy does not violate anyone's rights, and fantasy that never motivates action will not result in actions that harm anyone. But I think there is a plausible way of looking at things that would still find fault with fantasizing about having sex with children, and that would come from the aretaic (or virtue-theoretic) way of thinking, according to which the primary bearer of value is to be found in characteristics of agents. One who indulges in fantasies about sex with children is doing something that both reflects--and also perhaps perpetuates and sustains--a certain trait of character that we might think is not entirely wholesome or admirable. To the extent that we can regard one who indulges in such fantasies as having a trait of character that is improvable, we might also think that some attempt to eliminate or at least diminish the inclination to indulge in such fantasies would result in that person having some improvement in character. It may be that habituation can only go so far, and that virtue theorists (such as Aristotle) overrate the extent to which one can habituate better character traits, but it certainly does seem that a virtue theorist could find the character of someone who tends to indulge in such fantasies at least improvable, and this way of looking at things does, I think, put a different face on this kind of case than what Professor Heck has indicated.
Not sure why one might think that. We often, easily, and legitimately (I think) distinguish what's appropriate for children v. for adults, so what would be out of place in this case? Obviously we'd have to define/explain what we mean by 'appropriate' here -- and that could vary case by case, context by context -- but it seems to me the burden of proof would be on the person who holds we shouldn't make such a distinction .... So why do you think so?
Yes, it could. Two philosophers who have written in this vein are Seana Shiffrin and David Benatar. You can find at quick introduction to this debate (along with additional literature) at http://theviewfromhell.blogspot.com.au/2008/08/is-coming-into-existence-agent-neutral.html.
I agree. The point is that if we try to spread our concern for welfare too broadly, we may end up with an inferior conclusion. We know or at least think we know what is in the interests of our children. It is likely to maximize welfare if we act in what we take to be their interests, directly, and of course we should devote some of our resources to other children also. These are not unconnected, since the welfare of our children is linked with that of everyone's else's children, presumably. A policy of extreme selfishness is liable to place the individual's children at some stage at the mercy of those less fortunate seeking revenge.
Well, with the symmetrical argument you could conclude the opposite:
If causing happiness is good and if life is in part happiness, then procreating is good.
Both conclusions seem inadequately supported. It matters how much suffering and how much happiness one's offspring is likely to face. And there are other valuable and disvaluable things besides happiness and suffering: knowledge, culture, art, science, sports and love may all be good things a future person will experience -- good even if they are unaccompanied by happiness. And there are also contributions this future person will make to the lives of others -- good and bad contributions. So the question whether it's bad to procreate requires a more complex weighing up of considerations than is suggested by your argument.
I don't see what is wrong with designer babies, anymore than with the ways that parents try to shape their children as they grow up. Why should someone with better genes, whatever they are, bully someone else? If it were possible for example to exclude certain illnesses, or make them less likely, by using technology what is wrong with it? Or if you want a boy, or a girl, to balance the rest of the family, as parents sometimes say, it is not obviously wrong to take measures to make it more likely, if it can be done.
Designing babies could be identified more with preventative healthcare, while the ordinary way of producing babies with taking medical efforts to change what nature has provided us with, perhaps. We are often told that prevention is better than cure, and it is difficult to see why this principle should not be applied to the production of children.