S. Matthew Liao
The Right to be Loved
Oxford University Press 2015
It seems obvious that children need to be loved, that having a loving home and upbringing is essential to a child’s emotional and cognitive development. It is also obvious that, under typical circumstances at least, for every child there are adults who should love them. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that many national and international charters and declarations specifically ascribe to children a right to be loved. But the idea that children have a right to be loved seems philosophically suspicious. Questions arise almost instantly: Could there be right to be loved? Could children hold such a right? To whom does the correlate duty to love a child fall? What would such a duty require? One might also begin to wonder: What are the implications of such a right for family, parenting, child-rearing, and adoption?
In The Right to be Loved (Oxford University Press, 2015), S. Matthew Liao works carefully and systematically through all of these questions in providing a compelling defense of the idea that children indeed have a right to be loved. This is a fascinating book with a bold thesis.