[SydPhil] University of Sydney Philosophy Seminar Series: Teresa Baron

Ryan Cox ryan.cox at sydney.edu.au
Mon Oct 30 09:00:00 AEDT 2023

Hi everyone,

This week’s speaker in the University of Sydney Philosophy Seminar Series is Teresa Baron (University of Nottingham).

The title of Teresa’s talk is “Justice for ‘thwarted fathers’? Problems for retrospective parental rights claims”. Here’s the abstract for the talk:

This paper examines the legitimacy of retrospective parental rights-claims through the lens of so-called ‘thwarted father’ cases: men who are unaware of their progeny’s existence until the window for establishing legal parentage (and associated rights) has passed. In some famous cases of thwarted fathers, courts have found that an injustice has been done which must be rectified by awarding retrospective parental rights and custody to those men, even when their genetic child has already lived for some extended time period with their adoptive parents. In this paper, I critically examine Norvin Richards’ liberty-based defence of the parental rights of these fathers. He argues that the decision to overturn an adoption in a ‘thwarted father’ case is justified if we agree that a man’s contribution of sperm was indeed the first act of a parenthood project that he should have had the liberty right to continue. Although Richards’ account might allow us to say that a thwarted father has been wronged, justice cannot demand that the situation be rectified through specific performance (as in cases when property is stolen and justice requires that it be returned). Rather, if the genetic father did have a liberty right to continue the project in question, this would amount to a right to begin rearing the child. This right is more akin to a right of first refusal than a property right, and is thus eroded if exercised by others.

The talk will take place on Wednesday November 1st at 3:30 p.m. in the Philosophy Seminar Room (N494) in the Quadrangle.

Enquiries about the seminar series can be directed to ryan.cox at sydney.edu.au<mailto:ryan.cox at sydney.edu.au>

Ryan Cox
Associate Lecturer in Philosophy
Discipline of Philosophy
School of Humanities
University of Sydney
ryan.cox at sydney.edu.au<mailto:ryan.cox at sydney.edu.au>

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