Skip to main content

What Do Grown Children Owe Their Parents?

  • Chapter

Part of the Contemporary Issues in Biomedicine, Ethics, and Society book series (CIBES)

Abstract

What do grown children owe their parents? I will contend that the answer is “nothing.” Although I agree that there are many things that childrenoughtto do for their parents, I will argue that it is inappropriate and misleading to describe them as things “owed.” I will maintain that parents’ voluntary sacrifices, rather than creating “debts” to be “repaid,” tend to create love or “friendship.” The duties of grown children are those of friends, and result from love between them and their parents, rather than being things owed in repayment for the parents’ earlier sacrifices. Thus, I will oppose those philosophers who use the word “owe” whenever a duty or obligation exists. Although the “debt” metaphor is appropriate in some moral circumstances, my argument is that a love relationship is not such a case.

Keywords

  • Life Goal
  • Love Relationship
  • Filial Obligation
  • Grown Child
  • Piano Playing

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4612-0423-7_6
  • Chapter length: 8 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   109.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-1-4612-0423-7
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   179.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Reference

  1. Cf T. E. Hill, Jr. (1973) Servility and self-respect.Monist 57,87–104.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 1992 Springer Science+Business Media New York

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

English, J. (1992). What Do Grown Children Owe Their Parents?. In: Jecker, N.S. (eds) Aging And Ethics. Contemporary Issues in Biomedicine, Ethics, and Society. Humana Press, Totowa, NJ. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4612-0423-7_6

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4612-0423-7_6

  • Publisher Name: Humana Press, Totowa, NJ

  • Print ISBN: 978-0-89603-255-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-4612-0423-7

  • eBook Packages: Springer Book Archive