Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Kaitlyn Creasy


In this paper, I outline common conceptions of parenthood and assess the strengths and weaknesses of these models, including the proprietarian, consent, causal, and stewardship models. In what follows, each type of parenthood is evaluated for 1) its description of how a parent comes to be or 2) its normative claims about how a parent should act in regard to their child throughout the child’s life. After weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each conception, I conclude that the stewardship view is the most successful conception of parenthood not only because of its description of what makes a parent a parent, but because it the robust normative account it offers regarding what makes a parent a good parent throughout the life of the child. After making this case, I then apply this ideal model to adoptive parents in order to illustrate that these parents are just as, if not better, suited to be parents than the traditional biological parent is.

Included in

Philosophy Commons