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Parental Partiality in Unjust Circumstances: Inheritance as Insurance

Anca Gheaus
Wednesday, March 29, 2023, 1:30 pm – 3:10 pm

There is broad egalitarian agreement that, in existing societies, inheritance results in injustice and indirectly delegitimises the political process. I assume that we should abolish it and fund, amongst other justice-promoting policies, an adequate and robust safety net. But, I argue, in societies that lack such safety nets parents do no wrong in bequeathing to their children. In such societies, both procreative duty and parental care justify bequest as insurance against some forms of misfortune. The justified bequests, while limited both in size and in form, may be very substantial and therefore impede egalitarian reforms. I conclude that procreative duty and parental care provide (would-be) parents with special – and powerful – reasons to support adequate public safety nets.