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Respect for persons

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-L084-2
Version: v2,  Published online: 2020
Retrieved June 24, 2024, from

Article Summary

The idea that persons should treated with respect and that disrespecting someone is wrong is an important element of everyday morality and of moral philosophy and social and political philosophy. Philosophers have approached respect for persons with three sets of questions. The first set focuses on understanding the nature of respect, asking, for example, what sort of thing respect is; whether there are different kinds of respect; how respect is similar to, different from, or connected with esteem, honour, love, dignity, contempt, indifference, denigration, toleration, and so on; what beliefs, attitudes, emotions, motives, and actions respect involves; and what it is to respect oneself. The second set of questions focuses on the moral dimensions of respect for persons, asking, for example, whether there is a moral requirement to respect persons, and, if so, what the grounds and scope of the requirement are; whether every person must always be respected or whether individuals can forfeit all claim to respect as a person; whether there is a moral obligation to respect oneself; what attitudes and treatment are respectful of persons; and whether sociopolitical institutions should be assessed morally according to whether they promote respect or disrespect among persons. The third set of questions concerns applications, focusing on what respect for persons entails for how individuals should treat one another in everyday interactions, for issues in specific contexts such as health care and workplace relations, and for larger sociopolitical issues such as race and gender justice and capital punishment.

Citing this article:
Dillon, Robin S.. Respect for persons, 2020, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-L084-2. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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