Wrong by Convention
35 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2016
Date Written: September 16, 2016
Some acts (mala in se) are wrong prior to any social prohibition (e.g. murder). Other acts (mala prohibita) are wrong only once socially prohibited (e.g. traffic violations). This paper considers certain obligations of care that parents owe to their children and children to their parents. Violations of these familial obligations are like paradigm mala prohibita in that they are wrongs created by social convention. But, it is argued, they are unlike paradigm mala prohibita in that their prohibition is not justified merely by the desirable consequences of prohibiting them but also by the value of the prohibition itself.
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