Jake Lehrle-Fry

The Problem(s) with Friends and Family

This thesis is an exploration of some of our most important personal relationships – friendships and the parent-child relationship. It is not a stretch to say that these relationships are often amongst the most important things in an individual’s life. Nevertheless, these relationships can cause problems both for those involved and for those outside the relationship. This thesis considers the potential for conflict between these relationships and morality. In doing so it addresses the research question, ‘How do our personal relationships conflict with morality?’. Broadly speaking, the thesis considers two potential moral issues with the aforementioned relationships. In the case of the parent-child relationship, it examines the problem of parental partiality wherein a parent gives their own child special treatment often to the detriment of equality of opportunity. The thesis raises some problems with a leading attempt to address this problem and proposes an alternative solution based on parental love. In regard to friendship, the thesis examines whether there is anything wrong with being friends with people with immoral beliefs. The thesis argues there is nothing necessarily wrong with such friendships but that one might be required to blame one’s friends for their immoral beliefs but not qua friend, qua person who has a moral relationship with them.


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