By Charles Foster, Jonathan Herring
This booklet is an attack at the idea that it truly is empirically exact and legally and philosophically passable to determine people as atomistic entities. It contends that our welfare is inextricably entangled with that of others, and for this reason legislation and ethics, in identifying our greatest pursuits, may still understand the primary value of relationality, the functionality of duties, and (even it seems that injurious) altruism.
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Extra info for Altruism, Welfare and the Law
2 An Overarching Theme: Relational Best Interests Writing in the context of children, one of us (Jonathan Herring) has argued in favour of an approach he calls “relationship-based welfare”. This approach claims that children are best raised in the context of healthy relationships. Legal responses to disputes should be seen in the context of those relationships and should promote good relationships for children and free them from harmful ones. Central to this understanding is that healthy relationships involve a fair degree of give and take between the family members.
Consider the following comment from a woman about using her husband, Andy, as a ‘carer’: I prefer to have Andy’s help as a caregiver as little as possible, simply because if your husband becomes your caregiver, then he isn’t your husband any more. The relationship is blurred there. If I still want to be a person unto myself, then I don’t want to include him in some parts of care, like a bowel treatment or a shower day (quoted in England and Dyck 2011, p. 206). This quotation highlights the fact that activities of care can take on different meanings, depending on the relationship between the parties.
See, for example, the decision in PC v York CC where a young woman formed a relationship with a man with a history of violence against women. She had a low IQ and was vulnerable. While accepting the unanimous professional opinion that he posed a serious risk to her and that PC was a vulnerable young woman, the Court of Appeal overturned the ﬁrst instance decision that she lacked capacity to make the decision to cohabit and ruled: There may be many women who are seen to be in relationships with men regarded by professionals as predatory sexual offenders.
Altruism, Welfare and the Law by Charles Foster, Jonathan Herring