DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-L092-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved April 18, 2024, from

Article Summary

Persons are said to respect themselves when they have an appropriate sense of their own worth either as persons generally or as individuals occupying particular roles. In respecting themselves as persons, people may recognize their worth as persons (‘recognition’ self-respect) or value the positive aspects of their character (‘evaluative’ or ‘appraisal’ self-respect). On the ‘subjective’ view of self-respect, persons have self-respect so long as they value themselves according to their own standards of worthiness. On the ‘objective’ view, there are certain attitudes or actions that show self-respect, regardless of whether the agents exhibiting them are conforming to their own standards. Self-respect plays a central role in the ethical philosophy of Kant and the political philosophy of Rawls. Kant maintains that persons have a duty to respect themselves, which consists in regarding themselves as equal in moral status to other persons. Rawls holds that a just society must provide the social bases of self-respect for all citizens, for without self-respect, their lives are severely diminished. In this same spirit, some critiques of oppression emphasize the injustice of robbing people of their self-respect, which is often a consequence, it is claimed, of being oppressed.

    Citing this article:
    Stark, Cynthia A.. Self-respect, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-L092-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
    Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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