Children and moral agency

Cristina L H Traina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


CHILDREN ARE INCONSISTENTLY LABELED MORAL AGENTS IN SOME HIGHLY charged situations and denied that status in others. This essay draws on the writings of Nomy Arpaly, Lisa Tessman, and legal theorists to argue that both children and adults should nearly always be considered moral agents. But agency does not imply autonomy, ability to articulate rational reasons, or legal liability for either adults or children. Rather, all agents are dependent and conditioned. This quality divides them from a strict Augustinian vision in which adults and children are fully and solely responsible for their actions.The subtext of Augustine's Confessions suggests that Augustine's biography can as easily be interpreted according to the present framework as according to his own thematic of concupiscence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-37
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of the Society of Christian Ethics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • Philosophy


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