Upcoming talk at University of Minnesota Duluth by one of the Department of Philosophy alums from the University of Minnesota:

Marilea Bramer, Associate Professor
Minnesota State University at Moorhead

University of Minnesota, Duluth
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Location: TBA at UMD campus
Topic: “Are infants autonomous? The Structure and Use of Infant Autonomy in a Moral Framework.”

Marilea Bramer (MSU Moorhead)will be presenting her talk:

Are infants autonomous? The Structure and Uses of Infant Autonomy in a Moral Framework

Abstract: Much of the philosophical literature on autonomy either assumes that children are not yet autonomous or that only older children (age 10 and up) are autonomous. Prevalent attitudes suggest that very young children, including infants and toddlers lack autonomy. Such attitudes are highly problematic because of how they contribute to our view of children, specifically infants and toddlers.

Adults tend to assume children do not have significant commitments and that their goals and projects are unimportant. When it comes to infants and toddlers, we generally think of them as stereotypical representations of their kind, rather than as individuals. I argue that this is problematic, and suggest that all children, including infants and toddlers, are autonomous individuals deserving of appropriate respect. To demonstrate this, I examine the view that children, including very young children, have autonomy to some degree. I argue that under Amy Mullin’s definition of autonomy, which centers on volitional stability, infants and toddlers do have autonomy. Furthermore, acknowledging this autonomy has direct and important consequences for how parents and caregivers view and treat children, including the obligation to respect them.

Everyone is welcome to attend – be sure to invite friends!