|Résumé: ||Children are misapprehended and ignored within western philosophy and within practical systems of ethics. Attributes deemed correlative with childhood are considered indicators of insufficiency with respect to moral capacity or agency.
Examining assumptions and biases that shape the philosophical conception of children, and our preferred orientations within moral philosophy -toward autonomy, reason, invulnerability - this thesis considered the validity and impact of bias on how ethical systems function, and on how we conceptualize and respond to children.
Biases proved durable despite fresh research around morality’s underpinnings and children’s capacities. Because these biases are largely unexamined, they continue to impede integration of new knowledge into our ethical theorizing and system development.
Building workable systems of ethics that serve humans from infancy to elderhood, requires disengagement from habits of bias; reconsideration of ‘neglected’ philosophical orientations and integration of new knowledge about childhood and morality. The ensuing space created will prove fertile for constructing ethical systems.|