Caring for parents: A consequentialist approach

Wai Lam William SIN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, I explain the demands of filial obligations from act and rule consequentialism. More specifically, I defend a rule-consequentialist explanation of filial obligations, and identify a few factors in relation to the determination of filial demands; they include the costs of internalization of filial obligations, and the proportions of the young and the old generations in a population pyramid. I believe that in a society with an aging population, we may accept a strong view of filial obligation. Towards the end of the paper, I explain that rule-consequentialism is compatible with certain special views of filial obligations, such as the gratitude theory and the special goods theory; these theories represent ways in which adult children and their parents may obtain special goods from engaging in the relationship. Copyright © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-10
JournalMedicine, Health Care and Philosophy
Issue number1
Early online dateOct 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


Sin, W. (2016). Caring for parents: A consequentialist approach. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 19(1), 3-10.


  • Consequentialism
  • Long-term caregiving
  • Filial obligation
  • Demandingness
  • Population
  • Special goods theory


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