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Evaluation Of Jane English

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An Evaluation of English's What Grown Children Owe Their Parents

By Goh Jialing Caryn

In her article, Jane English proposes a theory that grown children owe nothing to their parents on the basis that the parent-child relationship is one which leans toward friendship and not indebtedness. According to English, the moral obligation grown children hence have towards their parents is no more than the kind we have towards friends or loved ones.

She illustrates the two similar, but distinct, relations with the use of several scenarios. In my essay, I will analyze and break down some of these examples or counter-examples by clearly establishing the strength of inference hence validity, as well as the premises and conclusion.

English's main argument can be structured simplistically as follows: all parent-child relationships are friendships, no friendships incur debts, and therefore no parent-child relationships incur debts.

P1: All P are F

P2: No F incurs debts

C1: No P incurs debts

By Categorical Syllogism, her argument is deductively valid. Hence, accepting the all the premises commits us to accepting the conclusion. By accepting English's conclusion that grown children owe nothing to their parents and hence have no responsibility to support (financially or otherwise) the aged folk of society, we would be provoked to question then, where does this responsibility fall? Clearly, the goverment or society as a whole cannot be held accountable for their needs since this would create a vicious cycle of heavy taxes and a stifled economy. For this responsibility to fall solely on the shoulders of community welfare organizations and the government would be one that is too heavy to bear. Grown children definitely have a role. Also, Chinese



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