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SESSION-4: RESPECTING OTHERS AS HUMAN BEINGS. What is “respect”? Respect has great importance in everyday life Belief: all people are worthy of respect.

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Presentation on theme: "SESSION-4: RESPECTING OTHERS AS HUMAN BEINGS. What is “respect”? Respect has great importance in everyday life Belief: all people are worthy of respect."— Presentation transcript:


2 What is “respect”? Respect has great importance in everyday life Belief: all people are worthy of respect Calls to respect in public life  mutual respect No life is worth living without self-respect Respect and self-respect are deeply connected “the good life” Self-respect Respect Mutual respect Self-respect Respect

3 Elements of respect (1) Respect  - a responsive relation from subject to object - from a certain perspective - in some appropriate way Perceptual element: subject to regard & consider/deliberate to see the object clearly, as it really is in its own right, and not seeing it through the filter one’s own desires. [object-generated  logic of objectivity & universality ] to deliberate and judge that the object deserves a certain response in virtue of some feature [reason governed  categorical!] Behavioral element: object “makes” legitimate claims on our conduct, thoughts, feelings, and disposition to behave appropriately.

4 Elements of respect (2) Objectivity and Universality of Respect object generated, not an extension of our interest/feeling constraining our attitudes and actions the same reasons for other people to respect it the same respect to those with the same feature Dimensions of Respect cognitive affectiveconative valuational RESPECT

5 Questions of respect for persons Scope?  a ll human beings? those capable of respecting? capable of rational activity? moral agents? exclude mentally ill? include artificial beings? Ground?  significant natural quality common to all? Adult human? Ability to value? to reason? to engage in reciprocal rel.? Exclude criminals? The ground seems independent of moral demerit! Justification?  entailment of moral obligation from a valuable quality X; experience: coherency with our other moral beliefs. How to?  negative constraints? or positive duties?

6 Kant’s Account (1) Scope: all persons are owed respect just in virtue of being persons, free rational beings, viz. they are ends in themselves with dignity! Ground: the dignity of persons as ends in themselves. Justification: Dignity is the supreme value, intrinsic, unconditional, independent of any other, incomparable, and objective. Respect for persons is not only appropriate but also morally and unconditionally required. How to: Categorical Imperative, viz. “Act in such a way that you treat humanity in any person never simply as a means but always at the same time as an end” [Fundamental moral obligation]

7 Kant’s Account (2) Rationality  capacity to set ends + to be autonomous The source of all objective values The absolute value or dignity of rational beings [dignity = end in themselves] all rational beings necessarily attribute dignity to themselves and acknowledge that every other has the same value on the same ground, because the rational nature is common to all. rational beings have dignity and are owed moral respect  they are capable of moral agency  “kingdom of ends”.

8 Kant’s Account (3) Implications: By virtue of their rational nature, all rational beings are the bearers of fundamental rights. Due respect to others: (1) control our own desires due to others’ rights (2) don’t treat them merely as means (to my ends), ridicule them, or treat them arrogantly. Duty of love = duty to make the ends of others my own Due respect to their autonomy: (-) do nothing to impair their autonomy, e.g. manipulation (+) protecting and promoting exercises of their autonomy Due respect to their capacity to set ends: (*) appreciate values that are different from our own.

9 Thus, why must we respect persons? Reason-1: As I care about myself, being a person, I wish to make generalization that other people must respect persons. Reason-2: Persons have intrinsic value, ends in themselves (dignity), and hence merit respect.

10 Which values are involved when respecting persons? Respect for persons 3 indispensable values & virtues autonomy love/ justice/ care/ fairness friendship Respect for persons

11 Free Will & Respect for Persons (1). Respect for human agency and individual control is a central part of what makes us human. COMMUNITY OF RESPONSIBILITY If we are to respect persons, we need to establish and maintain a social order, institutional frameworks, and social interactions that support members’ control over their own actions.

12 Free Will & Respect for Persons (2) To respect persons  to create community of responsibility (1) To enable people to live as responsible beings (2) To give people credit for their good actions (3) To take account of situations in which people lacked the abilities, capacities, and opportunities to choose freely, and hence may not be fully responsible. If I try to escape from my own responsibility at the time of choosing and doing (being passive), I treat myself with disrespect, viewing myself as an object and not as a subject. In such a case, I treat also others with disrespect.

13 Free Will & Respect for Persons (3) To create community of responsibility  to create a full-fledged person (1) Someone who takes responsibility for her past actions. (2) Someone who sees her value as being at stake in certain actions that she chooses to undertake. (3) Someone who views others as possessing value in similar ways and as being equally deserving appreciation in the light of their free choices. Though, if you believe in the ultimate determinism which is “the great eraser”, you must assume that “illusion” is involved in your life. At depth, it is constitutive of your very humanity.


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