This paper aims to offer conceptual clarification on the use of the concept of human flourishing with regard to children. We will argue that the concept can meaningfully be applied to parts of human lives, specifically one's childhood, and discuss when we can meaningfully speak of a flourishing child. Viewing children's lives in terms of whether they are flourishing may be able to help us understand and articulate in which ways a child's life may go better or worse. This is relevant, firstly, to the overall evaluation of people's lives, and secondly, because a flourishing childhood could be instrumentally necessary for adult flourishing. But, most importantly, childhood is a period of life that is good in itself irrespective of its contribution to adult flourishing, that is, being able to be a child has intrinsic goodness. Children have particular characteristics that can optimally function in childhood. While these contribute to the overall evaluation of a flourishing life, they are not regarded as valuable only because of this contribution.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the John Templeton Foundation as part of the project ‘Wonder, Education and Human Flourishing’ (see https://wonderfuleducation.eu/).
© 2021 The Authors. Journal of Philosophy of Education published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain
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- human flourishing