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ISBN:0199548706
Author: Brenda Almond
ISBN13: 978-0199548705
Title: The Fragmenting Family
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Language: English
Category: Humanities
Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (September 15, 2008)
Pages: 272

The Fragmenting Family by Brenda Almond



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Brenda Almond throws down a timely challenge to liberal consensus about personal relationships. She maintains that the traditional family is fragmenting in Western societies. Brenda Almond is Emeritus Professor of Moral and Social Philosophy of the University of Hull and Vice-President of the Society for Applied Philosophy. She has served on the Human Genetics Commission and with the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority in the United Kingdom and her books include The Philosophical Quest (Penguin, 1990) and Exploring Ethics: A Traveller's Tale (Blackwell, 1998). She maintains that the traditional family is fragmenting in Western societies, and that this fragmentation is a cause of serious social problems. She maintains that the traditional family is fragmenting in Western societies, causing serious social problems. Brenda Almond is Emeritus Professor of Moral and Social Philosophy of the University of Hull and Vice-President of the Society for Applied Philosophy

Brenda Almond throws down a timely challenge to liberal consensus about personal relationships. Library descriptions. The Fragmenting Family' throws down a challenge to liberal consensus about personal relationships

The philosopher Brenda Almond opens her book The Fragmenting Family with: ‘What is the family? There are many ways of answering this question, but I take as my starting point here G K Chesterton’s striking metaphor of family as this frail cord, flung from the forgotten hills of yesterday to the invisible mountains of tomorrow. In more prosaic terms, it is the chain of personal connections that gives meaning to our human notions of past, present and future - a mysterious genetic entity that binds us in our short span of individual existence to our ancestors and to our successors.

Brenda Almond has written a book about the family, and is a member of the Human Genetics Commission. She believes we’re far too blasé about family break-down. Brenda Almond: Pleased to be here, thanks for inviting me. Nigel: The topic we want to focus on today is the family

Find nearly any book by Brenda Almond. Get the best deal by comparing prices from over 100,000 booksellers. Brenda Almond (Almond, Brenda). used books, rare books and new books. Find all books by 'Brenda Almond' and compare prices Find signed collectible books by 'Brenda Almond'. Applied Philosophy: Morals and Metaphysics in Contemporary Debate. ISBN 9780415060158 (978-0-415-06015-8) Softcover, Routledge, 1991. The Fragmenting Family. ISBN 9780199548705 (978-0-19-954870-5) Softcover, Oxford University Press, 2008. Find signed collectible books: 'The Fragmenting Family'.

Brenda Almond throws down a timely challenge to liberal consensus about personal relationships. She maintains that the traditional family is fragmenting in Western societies, and that this fragmentation is a cause of serious social problems. She urges that we reconsider our attitudes to sex and reproduction in order to strengthen our most important social institution, the family, which is the key to ensuring healthy relationships between parents and children and a secure upbringing for the citizens of the future. Anyone who is concerned about how the framework of society is changing, anyone who has to face difficult personal decisions about parenthood or family relationships, will find this book compelling. It may disturb deep convictions, or offer an unwelcome message; but it is compassionate as well as controversial.
Reviews: 4
Gigafish
Almond covers a wide range of issues that are of central existential importance to human beings in their personal and political lives. Almond's stated aim for the book is as follows:

"What I hope to show is how largely independent projects in many areas of human knowledge and creativity have combined in what is in effect an onslaught on the increasingly fragile institution of the family" (p. 5).

Perhaps of special interest to philosophers is Almond's brief discussion of the ideals and relationships of three different couples- William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor, and Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. The book's primary focus centers on topics of more universal interest, such as the meaning of family, divorce, same-sex marriage, and reproductive technologies. The ethical framework employed by Almond is a natural law approach that, while consistent with the religious traditions that may share some of its elements, does not look to doctrine or religious authority for its justification. Rather, for Almond, we can find the basis for a natural law approach to sexual morality, commitment, loyalty, and family in the facts of human nature. And she thinks that when we connect sex, commitment, and loyalty, we are more likely to succeed in the human quest for happiness than if we opt for some alternative approach. In the realm of the family, the notion that children like families and that families exist only secondarily as a means of happiness for adults drives much of her argument.

Almond's view is conservative, in a sense, and she makes use of not only philosophical support but also some of the relevant empirical evidence to justify her conclusions. One example will suffice to illustrate this. She notes that contrary to the commonly held belief that children are better off after a divorce than they would be in a family in which the marriage is an unhappy one, there is empirical evidence showing that "short of abuse or violence, quarrelling parents are less damaging for children than family break-up" (p. 143). Moreover, the evidence shows that most divorces are not the result of a high level of conflict between the parents, and that children whose parents have a low-conflict marriage and get a divorce are likely to suffer psychologically and emotionally over the long-term as a result.

Those who advocate the new ideology family, which takes it to be nothing more than a social construct that can be changed as we see fit, need to consider the arguments Almond puts forth in this important book. And anyone interested in the moral and political debates surrounding this institution as well as the potential impact of family policies in the United States and Europe will find much food for thought in its pages.
Nilador
The last fifty years have been devastating to the health, happiness, and future of children.

Almond's research reveals just how enormous the change has been. From the middle of the 20th century, when divorce and illegitimacy were rare, to the collapse of marriage just a few decades later there has been a seismic convulsion in our perception of marriage.

Modern, reliable birth control methods made sex freer than at any time in history. At the same time, many feminists painted "a picture in which the care of children was seen as an obstacle to a woman's self-fulfillment" (p 66). Not that the idea that children were a burden was new. Buddha famously said, when "told of the birth of his child...'A fetter has been forged for me'" (p 44). Words no doubt his child could treasure.

The research on just how all this has harmed children has been trickling in since the beginning of the change. And now we have studies from almost every country in the world, poor countries and rich countries, developed and undeveloped countries, and the research is painfully conclusive.

Single parenting harms children.

Children raised without both biological parents are at huge risk for drug abuse, early sexual problems, and school problems. The only exception to this pattern is when a parent dies. Apparently, this one exception causes little damage.

Children raised in single or blended families were 200% more likely than children living with their biological parents to commit a crime. Almond quotes Gallagher who wrote, "The negative health effects of parental non-marriage and divorce linger long into their children's adult lives. This health gap cannot be explained entirely by lower incomes or reduced access to medical care'" (p 148). Worst of all, perhaps, research suggests that these children will be dogged with emotional problems throughout their adult lives.

And no, reconstituted families don't help. Those children living with in a blended family are at "more than eight times the risk of abuse than children living with their two natural parents" (p 140).

Research shows that "short of abuse or violence, quarreling parents are less damaging for children than family break-up" (p 143).

There have also been other repercussions of the new sexual freedom. In Europe, the "UN assessment is that the European population as a whole is likely to decline....by almost one hundred million of the first fifty years of the twenty-first century--a fall at least a dramatic as that caused by the Black Death in the 14th century" (p 173).

A very troubling book, but one that needs to be widely read.
Budar
Almond's empirically informed and philosophically astute meditation on the peculiar challenges of contemporary family life, law, and policy, is essential reading. Whether discussing the mostly doleful career and consequences of no-fault divorce, arguments for and against same-sex marriage, or the impact on both adult freedoms and children's welfare of new reproductive technologies, Almond is unfailingly judicious. illuminating, and probing. This is a remarkable, and a remarkably good, book.
Doath
Almond is clear-sighted in her examination of the profound changes taking place in our concept of the traditional family. She points to the consequences of these changes in society, some of them dire. Her book is acutely argued and thought-provoking, while avoiding the trap of easy solutions. This is an important book, which should be required reading for everyone interested in the future of the family.