There are three conferences coming up for those of us with interests in the ethics of children and families. The first is one I organized with some fellow Canadians. "Children, Family, and the State" is the wrap up conference of a three year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) grant of the same name I’ve held with Shauna Van Praagh (McGill Law), Daniel Weinstock (Philosophy, Universite de Montreal) and Colin Macleod (Philosophy, University of Victoria). The other two both involve the Society for Applied Philosophy, one to be held in Birmingham this June (that’s where I’ll be talking about the intrinsic goods of childhood) and the other to be held next year in  Cape Town,  South Africa.   Those feminist ethicists who were concerned that the South Africa conference on bearing and rearing children managed to have not one but two male keynote speakers (and no female keynote speakers) should note that the other two conferences have lots of women on the program.

  • Children, Family, and the State will be held May 18-20, 2007 at the University of Montreal. Speakers include David Archard (Lancaster University), David Benatar (University of Cape Town), Elizabeth Brake (Calgary), Harry Brighouse (Wisconsin), James Dwyer (William and Mary), Sally Haslanger (MIT), Eva Kittay (Stony Brook), Amy Mullin (University of Toronto), Sarah Stroud (McGill University), Andrew Williams (Warwick). Complete program is at
  • Philosophy and the Family  is the theme of the annual conference of the Society for Applied Philosophy, to be held in Birmingham, June 29-July 1st, 2007.  The program is now available here.
  • Bearing and Rearing Children: The Ethics of Procreation and Parenthood will be held May 26-28, 2008, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. Its sponsored by
    The Department of Philosophy, University of Cape Town, South Africa,  The Jean Beer Blumenfeld Center for Ethics, Georgia State University, USA and The Society for Applied Philosophy, UK. There is a call for papers available.  Biotechnological
    developments (chiefly, assisted reproduction, cloning, and
    pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) and broader social changes in
    family structures (chiefly, higher rates of divorce and re-marriage,
    the possibility of same sex co-parenthood), have radically changed the
    options open to prospective parents. What kinds of children we create
    and within what familial arrangements we rear them are now, in
    principle, open to much greater choice than previously. This conference
    will address a range of ethical issues that arise from concerns about
    the life any future child might reasonably be expected to enjoy, about
    what makes someone a parent, and about what rights and duties a parent
    has. Possible topic areas include the right to procreate, the
    duty to (or not to) procreate, the role of the state in facilitating
    procreation, duties of prospective procreators to future children and
    relevant third parties, how disability bears on procreative decisions,
    the foundation and scope of parental rights and duties, the relevance
    of the distinction between ‘causal’ and ‘custodial’ parenthood, and how
    justice bears on procreative decision-making.