Exercising Power as a Care-Giver, Revisited: An Argument for Virtue and Responsibility in Childcare
This paper will set forth an argument for the ethical course of action for adult care-givers when dealing with moral issues regarding the children in their care. I will begin by setting the context for this argument by defining how a child differs from an adult as well as the nature of a care-giver. I then attempt to show how the traditional western normative ethical model of consequentialism is inadequate for dealing with situations involving children due to the potential inherent in childhood and the unique relationship between child and care-giver. Although a more modern Rawlsian ethical framework provides a better model than consequentialism, I will show how this framework is still ultimately inadequate due to the responsibility of care-givers for the children in their care. I will then set forth my argument that exercising the virtue of “temperance of power” when engaging in childcare prescribes the correct course of action as it accurately represents the relationship between child and adult. I will show that this thesis is firmly rooted in the intellectual traditions of feminist ethics as developed by writers like Baier and Walker as well as in the virtue ethics of MacIntyre and Aristotle. I will conclude by working through cases of interactions between children and adult to show how this thesis would work to explain the morality of the ideal course of action in these scenarios.