Kids and Moral Agency

by jefftkjefftk1 min read8th May 20209 comments


World OptimizationWorld Modeling

We were having some sort of discussion where the idea of a "moral agent" came up, and Lily asked what one was. I described the idea, including something along the lines of "if it hurts you is that it's fault?", and then asked her what counted. Her answers, with my ordering:

  • Rock: no
  • Ocean: no
  • Tree: no
  • Ants: no
  • Pigs: no
  • Monkeys: no
  • Babies: sort of
  • Morgan (9m cousin): sort of
  • Felix (18m cousin): in between
  • Oli (3y cousin): yes
  • Anna (4y sister): yes
  • Ruthie: yes
  • Fairies: yes
  • Anna pretending to be a baby: yes

I'm curious whether adults would give the same answers, or whether adults would typically consider moral agency to start later?