The Conversation Between the Generations

Part of the Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures book series


I choose this somewhat awkward title because it seems to me to be necessary to insist on the uncertainty, the lack of structure, in the connection between the generations. This is due to a large extent of course to the multiple character of the expression ‘generation’ itself; it is a word with such a tangle of related and overlapping meanings attached to it that it is surprising to find that it goes on being used without qualificatory adjectives. Let us look at a few of the notions which ‘generation’ covers.


Moral Responsibility Family Group Political Authority Temporal Generation Parental Authority 
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  1. 1.
    For the generational depth of the pre-industrial domestic group, see Laslett, ‘Size and Structure of the Household in England over Three Centuries’, Population Studies (July 1969), and for an attempt to appreciate the implications of the change from this norm of familial relations over time,Google Scholar
  2. see Laslett, The World we have lost, 2nd ed. (1970). References are supplied in that volume to the historical demographic research supporting the conclusions cited above; see especiallyGoogle Scholar
  3. E. A. Wrigley, Population and History (1969).Google Scholar

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© The Royal Institute of Philosophy 1971

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