Family Justice is a research project in political philosophy funded by an ERC Consolidator Grant (648610), led by Serena Olsaretti, and hosted at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra for 5 years since September 2015.
Its main goal is to examine the normative significance of procreation and parenthood for theories of justice (hence the full title: Justice and the Family: An Analysis of the Normative Significance of Procreation and Parenthood in a Just Society).
Important questions of justice about the family arise once we acknowledge and keep in view that procreation and parenthood are both integral to the existence of any society (and therefore, a just society), and that they involve substantial benefits and burdens for parents, children, and society at large. Yet existing theories of justice generally neglect these questions by assuming that the principles they formulate are to regulate the main institutions of societies constituted by fully formed adult individuals whose creation and care are taken are given.
This project identifies and analyses three main sets of questions about family justice, which it aims to show are fruitfully handled together, drawing on currently separate areas of debate in moral and political philosophy:
1) Parental Justice - Does justice require that parents and non-parents share, and share equally, the costs and benefits of having children, and how do different answers to this question bear on our theory of distributive justice?
2) Childhood Justice - What are the claims of justice that we have as children, how do they relate to those we have as adults, and who bears the correlative duties?
3) Intergenerational Justice - Do all contemporaries, regardless of whether they are parents or non-parents, have the same obligations of justice towards future generations, and how, if at all, are the justification and the content of those obligations affected by considerations about what parents owe their children and parents and non-parents owe to each other?
Addressing these questions contributes to developing normative-theoretical framework needed to address pressing public policy concerns, and also turns out to be more central to the formulation of a complete and defensible theory of justice than political philosophers have realised to date. You can read more about the motivation behind the project in a posting by Serena Olsaretti on Philosop-HER, and in her interview on “Justice, markets, and the family: an interview with Serena Olsaretti”, Erasmus Journal for Philosophy & Economics 9, 2 (2016): 181-195.