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Lecture June 14th: 'My neighbour’s children: the responsibilities of citizens for children in their society'

24 May 2018

Thursday June 14th, the graduate school of the University of Humanistic Studies organises a lecture by Doret de Ruyter, Professor of Education: 'My neighbour’s children: the responsibilities of citizens for children in their society'.


Discussions about the distribution of responsibilities for the well-being, upbringing and education of children primarily focus on parents and (professionals of) the state. In this presentation I examine the responsibilities of other citizens. I first explore the claim that citizens have a moral responsibility to care for children in their community and neighbourhood. Then I will argue that caring communities are insufficient – citizens’ critical reflection on state and local policies is equally important. I end with an explication of the way in which the development of caring critical democratic citizens can be assisted within and outside schools. 


Prof. dr. Doret de Ruyter is former Professer of Philosophy and History of Education at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and per June 2018 appointed as Professor of Education at the University of Humanistics in Utrecht. Her main research interests are related in one way or the other to human flourishing as an ideal aim of education. In the past years she has worked among others on the clarification of human flourishing and the responsibilities of parents. Recently, she has widened her research to children whose flourishing is challenged either by their parents or by society and has begun to reflect on the responsibilities of other citizens against (these) children.

Preparatory readings

  • Kimbrough-Melton, R. J., & Melton, G. B. (2015). Someone will notice, and someone will care: How to build Strong Communities for Children. Child Abuse & Neglect, 41, 67-78.
  • Lillehammer, H. (2014). Who Is My Neighbour? Understanding Indifference as a Vice.  Philosophy, 89, 4, 559-579. 

Program specification:

GS-PLENARY LECTURE – THURSDAY JUNE 14th 2018, 18.45 - 21.00

The plenary lecture starts at 18.45 (room 1.40) and will be followed up by discussants (t.b.a.) and a plenary discussion.