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Wrong by convention

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-575
Number of pages23
Issue number3
Early online date1 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


King's Authors


Some acts (mala in se) are wrong prior to any social prohibition (e.g., murder). Other acts (mala prohibita) are wrong only once socially prohibited (e.g., traffic violations). This article considers certain obligations of care that parents owe to their children and children to their parents. Violations of these familial obligations are like paradigm mala prohibita in that they are wrongs created by social convention. But, it is argued, they are unlike paradigm mala prohibita in that their prohibition is not justified merely by the desirable consequences of prohibiting them but also by the value of the prohibition itself.

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