“Family” | philosophy magazine

Five philosophers sit around the table.

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Aristotle (384-322 BC)

For the Greek thinker, biological descent creates the family and the feelings that unite it. “Parents cherish their children as their own, and children their parents as something from which they come. † The members of the same family then form a single substance, “although in different bodies”.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)

“The oldest of all societies and the only natural one is that of the family. † It is the fruit of necessity, because before a certain age, children need their parents to sustain themselves. However, the family disappears as they grow up, because “As soon as this need ends, the natural bond dissolves.”

Friedrich Engels (1820-1895)

“In the family the man is the bourgeois; the woman plays the role of the proletariat. † Engels thus describes the mechanisms of oppression that exist in this intimate sphere, which precedes any class domination. Far from being for him a union of equals, marriage “appears as submission of one sex by another”.

Claude Levi-Strauss (1908-2009)

“If the universality of the family is not a law of nature, how can we explain that it is found almost everywhere? † The anthropologist responds with the notion of: “structure” : in every society, individuals are united by natural and social bonds, which make the family “the dramatic meeting between nature and culture”.

Susan Moller Okin (1946-2004)

The family is not a private sphere cut off from society, but “the linchpin of all injustice”.It is not possible to create an egalitarian society if the smallest structure is not. “If families are to help build righteous individuals, they must be righteous families. †

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