Should corporal punishment of children be abolished everywhere?
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This piece focuses on two questions about corporal punishment of children. First, is corporal punishment effective? In other words, does it achieve its proponents’ stated aims? Second, whether it is effective or not, is it morally permissible? Parents, it has been generally argued have broad rights to discipline their children, and it is a widely held convention that a good parent will use them. Some scholars and professionals argue that corporal punishment is the best way to induce children’s compliance and deter misbehavior. Others see it as being proper for children’s own good- in that, it is instrumentally useful in helping children flourish as children, and molding children into the kinds of adults it is good for them to become. For example, corporal punishment might make children autonomous, respectful, and responsible. Adopting the theoretical method of reflective equilibrium and relying on secondary data, this thesis advances two arguments. The first is an argument that corporal punishment is not effective. The second is independent. Even if corporal punishment were effective, the second argument holds that, because of children’s moral right to security of the person which forbids needless bodily interference, it is not permissible to practice it, and thus corporal punishment ought to be abolished everywhere. To illustrate these arguments, I will use Ghana as a case study.