What We Can Intend: Recognition and Collective Intentionality

Southern Journal of Philosophy 54 (1):5-26 (2016)
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The concept of recognition has played a role in two debates. In political philosophy, it is part of a communitarian response to liberal theories of distributive justice. It describes what it means to respect others’ right to self-determination. In ethics, Stephen Darwall argues that it comprises our judgment that we owe others moral consideration. I present a competing account of recognition on the grounds that most accounts answer the question of why others deserve recognition without answering the question of what is involved in recognizing them. This paper answers the latter. I argue that, in general, recognition is something that we do to others rather than something that we think about others. In particular, recognition is an intentional action to treat another individual as a legitimate, self-determining agent. I then show that recognition's realizability requires that agents understand their intentions as dependent on others for their satisfaction. Thus, relations of recognition are instances of collective intentionality.



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Caroline T. Arruda
University of Texas at El Paso

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What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Two Kinds of Respect.Stephen Darwall - 1977 - Ethics 88 (1):36-49.

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