Is There a Right to Respect?

Utilitas 24 (04):502-524 (2012)
Many moral philosophers assume that a person is entitled to respect; this suggests that there is a right to respect. I argue, however, that there is no such right. There can be no right to respect because of what respect is, in conjunction with what a right demands and certain limitations of human agency. In this paper, I first examine the nature and ontological basis of rights. I next consider the notion of respect in general; I adduce several varieties of respect, then present a primary distinction needed to discern the notion of respect relevant to the putative right. Then I propound the argument that there can be no right to respect and consider some means of challenging its conclusion. In closing, I trace some of the consequences of this argument and suggest how it might motivate a different approach to understanding our most basic obligations to one another.
Keywords respect  rights  human rights  doxastic voluntarism  Kant
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DOI 10.1017/S0953820812000180
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References found in this work BETA
John Rawls (2009/2005). A Theory of Justice. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Philosophy and Rhetoric. Oxford University Press 133-135.
Immanuel Kant (2007/1980). Lectures on Ethics. In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), International Journal of Ethics. Blackwell Pub. Ltd. 104-106.

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