Kant’s Justification of Parental Duties

Paper by Heiko Puls, published on February 1, 2016 in Kantian Review

In his applied moral philosophy, Kant formulates the parents’ duty to make their child happy. I argue that, for Kant, this duty is an ad hoc attempt at compensating for the parental guilt of having brought a person into the condition of existence – and hence also having created her need for happiness – on their own initiative. I argue that Kant’s considerations regarding parental duties and human reproduction in general imply arguments for an ethically justified anti-natalism, but that this position is abolished in his teleology for meta-ethical reasons.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1369415415000308
Kantian Review 21/1 (2016), 53–75