Family Values and the New Society: Dilemmas of the 21st Century

Family Values and the New Society: Dilemmas of the 21st Century

Family Values and the New Society: Dilemmas of the 21st Century

Family Values and the New Society: Dilemmas of the 21st Century

Synopsis

Beset by socio-legal challenges, medical, and scientific advances in reproduction, feminist philosophies and complex questions regarding its contemporary relevance, the family--together with the core values that have sustained over the years--is being tested, re-evaluated, and redesigned. This book directs its focus to the current national debate on family values providing a strong and practical framework for decisionmaking in topical problem areas which integrate the social sciences, law, medicine, political science, economics, ethics, philosophy, and religion.

Excerpt

The chapters presented in this book focus on a number of situations where old and new moral and ethical values, together with political and social forces, are, depending on one's view, combining to either challenge or enhance the traditional notion of family. Moral and religious convictions, as well as levels of cultural tolerance or intolerance, inevitably shape beliefs about the family, and these in turn will vary, often dramatically, from community to community and from state to state. Beliefs are all too often tested and sustained by emotional feeling rather than objective analysis.

Under five major headings, I have sought to present an objective analysis of complex normative value systems as they are tested within the family unit. Originally, I had planned to have an opening chapter in this book devoted to religious principles and views on the family and to show how they have structured traditional thinking here. I decided against this approach because as I researched the specific chapter areas within the headings, I found a pervasiveness of religious, ethical, and moral values throughout all of the areas of concern. Consequently, these values, principles, and concerns have been presented--and indeed integrated--into the considerations in well over half of the chapters.

The centrality of motherhood--its reproductive rights and responsibilities, together with the limits of its societal recognition for single, unmarried women, and the state's efforts to regulate its development--is examined within different social contexts and degrees of integration simply because its conventional recognition in the state of marriage is the foundation for what has become recognized as the traditional family. While a generalist overview of feminism is undertaken in Chapter 2, within Chapters 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 are found an in-depth exploration of the themes raised originally in Chapter 2 itself. The reason for this is that the concerns of feminist philosophy for reproductive autonomy and equality in marital relationships are basic to any understanding of the discontinuities or, indeed . . .

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