Must Respect Be Earned?

Thomas E. Hill

in Respect, Pluralism, and Justice

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780198238348
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597688 | DOI:
 Must Respect Be Earned?

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Addresses the questions, why should we respect humanity in all persons? and why not regard extremely immoral persons as having forfeited all respect? Respect for persons as persons is distinguished from respect for personal merit and conventional roles, but that someone is a person is not sufficient to explain why we must respect the person. The essay sketches some Kantian grounds, formal and substantive, for presuming that all human beings ought to be respected, and then addresses several objections. For example, should we respect sociopaths? The Kantian legislative perspective sketched earlier suggests reasons for a strong presumption for treating basic respect for humanity as non‐forfeitable, and arguably neither self‐protection, just punishment, nor legitimate moral censure require that we set aside the presumption.

Keywords: censure; forfeit; humanity; Kantian; merit; punishment; respect; respect for merit; respect for person; sociopath

Chapter.  14380 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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