Chapter 6 - Filial duty: special goods and compulsory loyalty  pp. 120-143

Filial duty: special goods and compulsory loyalty

By Simon Keller

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THE SPECIAL GOODS THEORY

Desiderata

Let me list some of the claims about filial duty on which I drew in arguing against the debt, gratitude and friendship theories. Filial duties are ongoing and open-ended; they are not duties that can be discharged once and for all. The nature and extent of your filial duties do not vary with the exact nature or quantity of parental sacrifice involved in your upbringing; you do not have lesser filial duties for having been easy to raise.

Filial duties are not easily avoidable; the moral relationship from which they arise is not one that you choose to enter, nor one that you can simply choose to end. But they do vary with certain changes in your ongoing relationship with your parents; if your parents unreasonably disown you, for example, then your filial duties may not be what they were.

The demands made by filial duty do not extend so far that meeting them impedes your ability to exercise a reasonable amount of autonomous choice over the shape of your own life; you do not have filial duties to (for example) pursue a particular career, follow a particular religion, or give more financially than you can reasonably afford. That said, filial duties can be, in a different respect, very demanding; if you can afford to pay for your parents' medical care, for example, then filial duty can require you to do so, even if it is very expensive.

Chapter 6

Reference Type: bibliography

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