Children, Religion and the Ethics of Influence

Children, Religion and the Ethics of Influence

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In Children, Religion and the Ethics of Influence, John Tillson develops a theory concerning which kinds of formative influence are morally permissible, impermissible or obligatory. Applying this theory to the case of religion, he argues that religious initiation in childhood is morally impermissible whether conducted by parents, teachers or others. Tillson addresses questions such as: how we come to have the ethical responsibilities we do, how we understand religion, how ethical and religious commitments can be justified, and what makes children ethically special.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 20.32mm | 448g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1350066796
  • 9781350066793
  • 2,426,218

Table of contents

1. Introduction
2. The Sources of Parental and Extra-Parental Responsibility
3. The Content of Parental and Extra-Parental Responsibility
4. Those Respects in which People Can Be Formatively Influenced
5. What Forms Can and Should Influence Take?
6. A Theory of Ethical Influence
7. The Nature of Religion
8. The Status of Religion
9. How Children Ought to Be Formatively Influenced, with Respect to Religion(S)
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Review quote

I appreciate the emphasis on influence here as it so directly raises the question of the ethics of justification. In this sense, I find Tillson's approach extremely engaging ... [The book] provides a vital discussion of questions of influence and its justification. * Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain * An almost universal assumption is that forming children's religious identity is something that adults permissibly do as parents, religious teachers, or the like. John Tillson argues with great force and ingenuity that this is simply a huge moral mistake. Tillson's prose is a model of clarity, and though there is much here to interest scholars in the area of children's rights, the book is accessible to anyone who cares about the questions it raises and is ready to consider the subversive answers it gives. This is a brilliant and provocative book. * Eamonn Callan, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Stanford University, USA * A detailed, closely argued, and richly resourced contribution to the philosophy of education. Tillson provides a carefully constructed, comprehensive, and analytically rigorous rebuttal of the view that it is morally permissible to attempt to instil religious beliefs in children. This is a work that is stacked full of interesting and controversial arguments, from questions about well-being and the moral responsibilities of parents, to arguments for and against the existence of a deity. The upshot is an exciting and ingenious intervention into the live moral and political debate surrounding the appropriate role of parents, teachers, and other educators with regard to religious belief and worries about indoctrination. * David Stevens, Associate Professor in Political Philosophy, University of Nottingham, UK * The belief that parents have a right to raise their children within a religious tradition - be it in school or outside - is widely assumed to be correct. But is it? John Tillson presents a careful, well-crafted case for a conclusion many will find a shocking. Tillson has the virtue of writing in an engaging, accessible way. This is a valuable contribution to an important debate. It is a book that nicely illustrates how analytic philosophy can both effectively challenge received wisdom and generate conclusions that have significant, real-life consequences. * Stephen Law, Reader and Head of the Department of Philosophy, Heythrop College, UK *
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About John Tillson

John Tillson is Lecturer in Philosophy of Education at Liverpool Hope University, UK.
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