•  37
    What Parents May Teach Their Children
    Social Theory and Practice 45 (3): 371-396. 2019.
    Many liberals assume that, while children should not be rigidly indoctrinated, parents may raise them according to their own comprehensive values. Matthew Clayton, however, argues that the reasons for embracing antiperfectionism in politics also apply to parental authority. In this paper, I defend the perfectionist conception of childrearing. I claim that we cannot realistically foster a child’s sense of justice without embedding it in a comprehensive doctrine. Furthermore, I argue that since pa…Read more
  •  6
    Central to most forms of liberal social and political philosophy is the idea of the free and equal, self-governing person. And yet we do not come into the world as autonomous and accountable individuals; at best, this is the outcome of a long process of development and education which (in many societies) now extends throughout the first quarter of the average life. During this period of childhood, moreover, we are governed, not by ourselves, but by others. This dissertation examines the paradoxi…Read more
  •  65
    John Locke occupies a central place in the contemporary philosophical literature on parental authority, and his child-centered approach has inspired a number of recognizably Lockean theories of parenthood.2 But unlike the best historically informed scholarship on other aspects of Locke's thought, those interested in his account of parental rights have not yet tried to understand its connection to debates of the period or to Locke's broader theory of natural law. In particular, Locke's relation t…Read more
  •  86
    On Becoming an Adult: Autonomy and the Moral Relevance of Life's Stages
    Philosophical Quarterly 63 (251): 223-247. 2013.
    What is it about a person's becoming an adult that makes it generally inappropriate to treat that person paternalistically any longer? The Standard View holds that a mere difference in age or stage of life cannot in itself be morally relevant, but only matters insofar as it is correlated with the development of capacities for mature practical reasoning. This paper defends the contrary view: two people can have all the same general psychological attributes and yet the mere fact that one person is…Read more