What Do We Owe Our Parents? Essay

795 Words 4 Pages
Jane English, a philosophy professor at the University of North Carolina argues that grown children have no filial obligations to their parents. Jane English believes that there are two relationships based on reciprocal favors and relationships of friendship. Both relationships involve duties, but English argues that friendship and its duties should be governing the relationship of grown children and their parents. In other words, the relationship between a grown child and their parents should model on a friendship-type relationship. When asked the question "What do grown children owe their parents?" English's response is "nothing." Her position held is that it is misleading to describe them as things "owed" specifically because parents …show more content…
As a result Nina might expect Max to develop a friendship with her rather than repaying her for the collection of the mail.

Jane English's view on The duties of Friendship is that certain terms like "owe" and "repay" are used with the term "favor," but friendship should be characterized by mutuality rather than reciprocity and favors to be repaid. Friends offer what they can give and accept what they need leaving out total regard for the amounts of benefits exchanged. The idea of friendship is motivated by love rather than the idea of repayment. Unlike debts created by favors, duties of friendships do not require equal quantities of sacrifice. Friends are motivated by affection while many who perform favors are motivated by mutual gain. The talk of "owing" is significantly out of place in a friendship because the duties performed are out of kindness and love for friends and now just wishing for repayment or a new friendship.

English gives many examples of the different kind of circumstances during relationships between acquaintances, friends, and parents and their children. Her position on Parents and Children is that the relationship should be one of friendship characterized by mutuality rather than one of reciprocal favors. (p.695) Parental sacrifices are irrelevant in determining what duties the grown child has. What

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