14-Year-Old Girl Case Study

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General Topic Intergenerational justice is regarded as an important part of the theory of justice. This is because we now have an awareness of problems concerning compensation, savings and environmental issues, such as global warming. However, when it comes to intergenerational problems, moral judgement is difficult because of the non-identity problem. In 1984, Derek Parfit formulated the non-identity problem: suppose that a 14-year-old girl has conceived. However, her parents recommend her to have an abortion, and to postpone having a child until she can make a living for herself. The girl’s parents think this way because they reasonably anticipate that if she has a child now, she ends up giving him a worse start in life because of her poor…show more content…
About the 14-year-old girl case, the claim that postponement of a birth is better off for the possible child is subject to two interpretations. The de re claim is that her act makes the particular child that she conceives better-off than that particular child would otherwise have been. The de dicto claim is that her act does not make whatever person turns out to satisfy the description ‘her child’ better off than whatever person would otherwise have turned out to satisfy the description ‘her child’ would have been. In the de re sense, the girl does not make her child better off even if she postpones having a child, because the child who would be born when the girl is a 14-year-old is different from the child who will be born in the future. By contrast, Hare argues that because the girl plays a special role to her own child as a mother, she has an obligation to be concerned for the well-being of her child in the de dicto sense. Because the immediate conception now makes her child worse off than he would otherwise have been in the de dicto sense, her act harms a…show more content…
Although Velleman’s approach is different from a contractualist approach and does not regard protecting the de dicto interests of future persons as the de dicto obligations of previous generations, he claims that every child has the de dicto right to be born into good enough circumstances and regards that protecting the child’s rights is a parental obligation. In other words, possible parents have an obligation to give their children the best opportunity for personhood to flourish. Therefore, the immediate conception is morally wrong because the 14-year-old girl cannot provide her child good enough circumstances yet. Velleman additionally mentions that even if a child was born as disabled or was born under miserable circumstances, the child will probably grow up to be glad that he was born in the de re sense; however, the child may also feel that he was not given due consideration at his conception in the de dicto sense. I believe that the de re/de dicto account and the pluralistic account dodge a dilemma of the rights-based accounts. This is partly because these accounts can acknowledge that every life is worthwhile in the de re sense, and partly because they successfully explain that previous generations have the de dicto obligations towards future
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