Interpersonal Recognition and Responsiveness to Relevant Differences

This essay defends a three-dimensional response-model theory of recognition of persons, and discusses the related phenomenon of recognition of reasons, values and principles. The theory is three-dimensional in endorsing recognition of the equality of persons and two kinds of relevant differences: merits and special relationships. It defends a ‘response-model’ which holds that adequacy of recognition of persons is a matter of adequate responsiveness to situation-specific reasons and requirements. This three-dimen- sional response-model is compared to Peter Jones’s view, which draws the distinction between status and merit recognition, and mediated and unmediated recognition. The essay discusses a number of questions related to how recognition of situation-specific reasons, and more general values and principles, is related to recognition of persons. The three- dimensional response-model of recognition of persons is in principle compatible with a constructivist view, which holds that the validity of values and principles is dependent on acknowledgement or endorsement. But even if one is a realist on that issue and thinks of validity as independent of acknowledgement, acknowledging relevant values, reasons and principles is a hugely important precondition of actual interpersonal recognition. The essay analyses these connections
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DOI 10.1080/13698230500475481
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Thomas Scanlon (1998). What We Owe to Each Other. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

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